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Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2014 Jan;15(1):65-74. doi: 10.1038/nrm3716. Epub 2013 Dec 11.

The return of the nucleus: transcriptional and epigenetic control of autophagy.

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Department of Oncology Pathology, Cancer Centrum Karolinska, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm 17176, Sweden.
Life Sciences Institute and Departments of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology and Biological Chemistry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, USA.


Autophagy is a conserved process by which cytoplasmic components are degraded by the lysosome. It is commonly seen as a cytoplasmic event and, until now, nuclear events were not considered of primary importance for this process. However, recent studies have unveiled a transcriptional and epigenetic network that regulates autophagy. The identification of tightly controlled transcription factors (such as TFEB and ZKSCAN3), microRNAs and histone marks (especially acetylated Lys16 of histone 4 (H4K16ac) and dimethylated H3K9 (H3K9me2)) associated with the autophagic process offers an attractive conceptual framework to understand the short-term transcriptional response and potential long-term responses to autophagy.

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