Autophagy in filamentous fungi

Fungal Genet Biol. 2009 Jan;46(1):1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.fgb.2008.10.010. Epub 2008 Nov 5.


Autophagy is a ubiquitous, non-selective degradation process in eukaryotic cells that is conserved from yeast to man. Autophagy research has increased significantly in the last ten years, as autophagy has been connected with cancer, neurodegenerative disease and various human developmental processes. Autophagy also appears to play an important role in filamentous fungi, impacting growth, morphology and development. In this review, an autophagy model developed for the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is used as an intellectual framework to discuss autophagy in filamentous fungi. Studies imply that, similar to yeast, fungal autophagy is characterized by the presence of autophagosomes and controlled by Tor kinase. In addition, fungal autophagy is apparently involved in protection against cell death and has significant effects on cellular growth and development. However, the only putative autophagy proteins characterized in filamentous fungi are Atg1 and Atg8. We discuss various strategies used to study and monitor fungal autophagy as well as the possible relationship between autophagy, physiology, and morphological development.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Autophagy / genetics*
  • Autophagy / physiology*
  • Fungi / genetics
  • Fungi / metabolism
  • Fungi / physiology*