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Nat Cell Biol. 2010 Sep;12(9):823-30. doi: 10.1038/ncb0910-823.

Autophagy in mammalian development and differentiation.

Author information

1
Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Tokyo 113-8519, Japan. nmizu.phy2@tmd.ac.jp

Abstract

It has been known for many decades that autophagy, a conserved lysosomal degradation pathway, is highly active during differentiation and development. However, until the discovery of the autophagy-related (ATG) genes in the 1990s, the functional significance of this activity was unknown. Initially, genetic knockout studies of ATG genes in lower eukaryotes revealed an essential role for the autophagy pathway in differentiation and development. In recent years, the analyses of systemic and tissue-specific knockout models of ATG genes in mice has led to an explosion of knowledge about the functions of autophagy in mammalian development and differentiation. Here we review the main advances in our understanding of these functions.

PMID:
20811354
PMCID:
PMC3127249
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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