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REVIEW: Mechanisms of Autophagy and Pexophagy in Yeasts

A. A. Sibirny1,2

1Institute of Cell Biology, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Drahomanov Str. 14/16, Lviv 79005, Ukraine; fax: +380-32-261-2148; E-mail: sibirny@cellbiol.lviv.ua

2University of Rzeszow, Zelwerowicza, 4, Rzeszow 35-601, Poland

Received May 16, 2011; Revision received June 15, 2011
Autophagy is a process of recycling of the intracellular constituents using vacuoles (lysosomes). General autophagy occurs due to involvement of highly conservative components found in all eukaryotes, from yeasts to higher plants and humans. Autophagy also could be a selective process and be involved in regulation of the cellular number of organelles, including that of peroxisomes. The process of specific autophagic peroxisome degradation is known as pexophagy. Yeasts appear to be convenient model for studying molecular mechanisms of pexophagy, and most known ATG genes (from the term AuTophaGy) were identified in yeast studies. This review examines characteristics of general autophagy, other types of autophagy as well as pexophagy, in particular, functions of Atg proteins in general autophagy and in macro- and micropexophagy. Special attention is given to mechanisms of phagophore assembly, the role of phosphatidylinositol-3-phosphate in pexophagy, the role of peroxines (proteins involved in peroxisome biogenesis) in pexophagy, as well as properties of Atg proteins specifically involved in micropexophagy.
KEY WORDS: autophagy, pexophagy, macropexophagy, micropexophagy, Cvt pathway, Atg proteins, yeasts

DOI: 10.1134/S0006297911120017