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Autophagy. 2015;11(6):867-80. doi: 10.1080/15548627.2015.1034410.

Transcriptional and epigenetic regulation of autophagy in aging.

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a Development, Aging and Regeneration Program; Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute ; La Jolla , CA USA.


Macroautophagy is a major intracellular degradation process recognized as playing a central role in cell survival and longevity. This multistep process is extensively regulated at several levels, including post-translationally through the action of conserved longevity factors such as the nutrient sensor TOR. More recently, transcriptional regulation of autophagy genes has emerged as an important mechanism for ensuring the somatic maintenance and homeostasis necessary for a long life span. Autophagy is increased in many long-lived model organisms and contributes significantly to their longevity. In turn, conserved transcription factors, particularly the helix-loop-helix transcription factor TFEB and the forkhead transcription factor FOXO, control the expression of many autophagy-related genes and are important for life-span extension. In this review, we discuss recent progress in understanding the contribution of these transcription factors to macroautophagy regulation in the context of aging. We also review current research on epigenetic changes, such as histone modification by the deacetylase SIRT1, that influence autophagy-related gene expression and additionally affect aging. Understanding the molecular regulation of macroautophagy in relation to aging may offer new avenues for the treatment of age-related diseases.


AMPK, AMP-activated protein kinase; Atg, autophagy related; BNIP3, BCL2/adenovirus E1B 19kDa interacting protein 3; CaN, calcineurin; HDAC, histone deacetylase; FOXO; HAT, histone acetyltransferase; LC3, microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3; MITF, microphthalmia-associated transcription factor; PDPK1/2, 3-phosphoinositide dependent kinase 1/2; PtdIns3K, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase; PtdIns3P, phosphatidylinositol 3-phosphate; SIRT1; TFEB; TFEB, transcription factor EB; TOR, target of rapamycin; TSC, tuberous sclerosis complex; UVRAG, UV radiation resistance associated.; acetyl-CoA, acetyl coenzyme A; autophagy; epigenetics; longevity; miRNA; transcription.

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