Autophagy and multivesicular bodies: two closely related partners

Cell Death Differ. 2009 Jan;16(1):70-8. doi: 10.1038/cdd.2008.168. Epub 2008 Nov 14.


In the majority of cell types, multivesicular bodies (MVBs) are a special kind of late endosomes, crucial intermediates in the internalization of nutrients, ligands and receptors through the endolysosomal system. ESCRT-0, I, II and III (endosomal sorting complex required for transport) are involved in the sorting of proteins into MVBs, generating the intraluminal vesicles. Autophagy is a lysosomal degradation pathway for cytoplasmic components such as proteins and organelles. The autophagosome, a well-characterized structure of the autophagy pathway, can fuse with endocytic structures such as MVBs to generate the amphisome. Finally, the amphisome fuses with the lysosome to degrade the material wrapped inside. Currently, clear evidence suggests that efficient autophagic degradation requires functional MVBs. This review highlights the most recent advances in our understanding of the molecular machinery that participates in MVB biogenesis and regulates the interplay between autophagy and this organelle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autophagy / physiology*
  • Biological Transport / physiology
  • Endosomes / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Lysosomes / metabolism*
  • Phagosomes / metabolism*