Autophagy in the renewal, differentiation and homeostasis of immune cells.
Clarke AJ., Simon AK.
Across all branches of the immune system, the process of autophagy is fundamentally important in cellular development, function and homeostasis. Strikingly, this evolutionarily ancient pathway for intracellular recycling has been adapted to enable a high degree of functional complexity and specialization. However, although the requirement for autophagy in normal immune cell function is clear, the mechanisms involved are much less so and encompass control of metabolism, selective degradation of substrates and organelles and participation in cell survival decisions. We review here the crucial functions of autophagy in controlling the differentiation and homeostasis of multiple immune cell types and discuss the potential mechanisms involved.