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Curr Biol. 2012 Jan 10;22(1):R29-34. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2011.11.034.

Mechanisms of autophagosome biogenesis.

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Department of Medical Genetics, Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, Wellcome/MRC Building, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge CB2 0XY, UK.


Autophagy is a unique membrane trafficking process whereby newly formed membranes, termed phagophores, engulf parts of the cytoplasm leading to the production of double-membraned autophagosomes that get delivered to lysosomes for degradation. This catabolic pathway has been linked to numerous physiological and pathological conditions, such as development, programmed cell death, cancer, pathogen infection, neurodegenerative disorders, and myopathies. In this review, we will focus on recent studies in yeast and mammalian systems that have provided insights into two critical areas of autophagosome biogenesis - the source of the autophagosomal membranes, and the mechanisms regulating the fusion of the edges of the double-membraned phagophores to form autophagosomes.

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