Proper macrophagic differentiation requires both autophagy and caspase activation.
Jacquel A., Obba S., Solary E., Auberger P.
Autophagy allows the elimination of superfluous or damaged macromolecules or organelles. Genetic evidence indicates that autophagy plays essential functions during differentiation. The differentiation of human blood monocytes into macrophages is a caspase-dependent process triggered by colony stimulating factor1 (CSF1/CSF-1). We have established, using pharmacological inhibitors, siRNA approaches and Atg7 (-/-) mice, that autophagy is required for proper CSF1/CSF-1-driven differentiation of human and murine monocytes and acquisition of phagocytic functions. Collectively, these findings highlight an essential role of autophagy during monocyte differentiation and acquisition of macrophage functions. Deciphering the complex interplay between caspase and autophagy that occurs during this process will undoubtedly bring new insights in our understanding of monocyte differentiation.