Chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA) is a lysosomal pathway that participates in the degradation of cytosolic proteins. CMA is activated by starvation and in response to stressors that result in protein damage. The selectivity intrinsic to CMA allows for removal of damaged proteins without disturbing nearby functional ones. CMA works in a coordinated manner with other autophagic pathways, which can compensate for each other. Interest in CMA has recently grown because of the connections established between this autophagic pathway and human pathologies. Here we review the unique properties of CMA compared to other autophagic pathways and its relevance in health and disease.
Copyright 2009 Federation of European Biochemical Societies. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.