Research Topic

Autophagy in plants and algae

About this Research Topic

Autophagy (also known as macroautophagy) is an evolutionarily conserved process by which cytoplasmic components are nonselectively enclosed within a double-membrane vesicle known as the autophagosome and delivered to the vacuole for degradation of toxic components and recycling of needed nutrients. This ...

Autophagy (also known as macroautophagy) is an evolutionarily conserved process by which cytoplasmic components are nonselectively enclosed within a double-membrane vesicle known as the autophagosome and delivered to the vacuole for degradation of toxic components and recycling of needed nutrients. This catabolic process is required for the adequate adaptation and response of the cell, and correspondingly the whole organism, to different types of stress including nutrient starvation or oxidative damage. Autophagy has been extensively investigated in yeasts and mammals but the identification of autophagy-related (ATG) genes in plant and algal genomes together with the characterization of autophagy-deficient mutants in plants have revealed that this process is structurally and functionally conserved in photosynthetic eukaryotes. Recent studies have demonstrated that autophagy is active at a basal level under normal growth in plants and is upregulated during senescence and in response to nutrient limitation, oxidative stress, salt and drought conditions and pathogen attack.

Autophagy was initially considered as a non-selective pathway, but numerous observations mainly obtained in yeasts revealed that autophagy can also selectively eliminate specific proteins, protein complexes and organelles. Interestingly, several types of selective autophagy appear to be also conserved in plants, and the degradation of protein aggregates through specific adaptors or the delivery of chloroplast material to the vacuole via autophagy has been reported.

This research topic aims to gather recent progress on different aspects of autophagy in plants and algae. We welcome all types of articles including original research, methods, opinions and reviews that provide new insights about the autophagy process and its regulation.


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