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Microbes Infect. 2012 Feb;14(2):126-39. doi: 10.1016/j.micinf.2011.09.007. Epub 2011 Oct 24.

Manipulation or capitulation: virus interactions with autophagy.

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Department of Microbiology, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.


Autophagy is a homeostatic process that functions to balance cellular metabolism and promote cell survival during stressful conditions by delivering cytoplasmic components for lysosomal degradation and subsequent recycling. During viral infection, autophagy can act as a surveillance mechanism that delivers viral antigens to the endosomal/lysosomal compartments that are enriched in immune sensors. Additionally, activated immune sensors can signal to activate autophagy. To evade this antiviral activity, many viruses elaborate functions to block the autophagy pathway at a variety of steps. Alternatively, some viruses actively subvert autophagy for their own benefit. Manipulated autophagy has been proposed to facilitate nearly every stage of the viral lifecycle in direct and indirect ways. In this review, we synthesize the extensive literature on virus-autophagy interactions, emphasizing the role of autophagy in antiviral immunity and the mechanisms by which viruses subvert autophagy for their own benefit.

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