Autophagic control of cell 'stemness'

EMBO Mol Med. 2013 Mar;5(3):327-31. doi: 10.1002/emmm.201201999.


Stem cells have the ability to self-renew and differentiate into various cell types. Both cell-intrinsic and extrinsic factors may contribute to aging-related decline in stem cell function and loss of stemness. The maintenance of cellular homeostasis requires timely removal of toxic proteins and damaged organelles that accumulate with age or in pathological conditions. Autophagy is one of the main strategies to eliminate unwanted cytoplasmic materials thereby ultimately preventing cellular damage. Here, we shall discuss the accumulating evidence suggesting that autophagy plays a critical role in the homeostatic control of stem cell functions during aging, tissue regeneration, and cellular reprogramming.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aging / genetics
  • Aging / metabolism
  • Aging / pathology*
  • Animals
  • Autophagy* / genetics
  • Cell Differentiation* / genetics
  • Cell Lineage
  • Cell Proliferation*
  • Cellular Reprogramming
  • Cellular Senescence* / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / pathology
  • Regeneration
  • Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Stem Cells / pathology*