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Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2010 Mar;21(3):142-50. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2009.10.003. Epub 2009 Oct 24.

Chaperone-mediated autophagy: selectivity pays off.

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Department of Developmental and Molecular Biology, Marion Bessin Liver Research Center and Institute for Aging Studies, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY 10461, USA.


Degradation of intracellular components in lysosomes, generically known as autophagy, can occur through different pathways. This review discusses chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA), a type of autophagy set apart from other autophagic pathways owing to its selectivity and distinctive mechanism by which substrates reach the lysosomal lumen. CMA participates in quality control and provides energy to cells under persistently poor nutritional conditions. Alterations in CMA have recently been shown to underlie some severe human disorders for which the decline with age in the activity of this pathway might become a major aggravating factor. Prevention of the age-dependent decline in CMA has major beneficial effects on cellular and organ homeostasis and function, revealing that CMA is an essential component of the anti-aging fight.

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