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Autophagy. 2012 Jan;8(1):6-17. doi: 10.4161/auto.8.1.16645. Epub 2012 Jan 1.

Beclin1: a role in membrane dynamics and beyond.

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1
Unit for Molecular Signalling and Cell Death, Department for Molecular Biomedical Research, Ghent, Belgium.

Abstract

Beclin1(Atg6) is a well-known key regulator of autophagy. Although Beclin1 is enzymatically inert, it governs the autophagic process by regulating PtdIns3KC3-dependent generation of phosphatidylinositol3-phosphate (PtdIns(3)P) and the subsequent recruitment of additional Atg proteins that orchestrate autophagosome formation. Furthermore, Beclin1 is implicated in numerous biological processes, including adaptation to stress, development, endocytosis, cytokinesis, immunity, tumorigenesis, ageing and cell death. Whether all of these processes involve only the autophagy-inducing function of Beclin1 is now being seriously questioned, because Beclin1 appears to exercise several non-autophagy functions. Therefore, we should broaden our view of Beclin1 as a specialized molecule in autophagy to that of a multifunctional protein. The central role of Beclin1 in multiple signaling events obviously requires tight regulation at multiple levels. Its function is kept in check by diverse mechanisms, such as epigenetic silencing, microRNA regulation, post-translational modifications, and protein-protein interactions. Interestingly, multiple diseases are associated with deficiency or malfunction of Beclin1, which makes it a potentially valuable target for various therapies, including anti-cancer treatment. In this review, we focus on Beclin1 as a multifunctional protein, discuss the variety of mechanisms by which it is controlled, and give an overview of Beclin1-associated pathologies.

PMID:
22170155
DOI:
10.4161/auto.8.1.16645
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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