The return of the nucleus: transcriptional and epigenetic control of autophagy

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2014 Jan;15(1):65-74. doi: 10.1038/nrm3716. Epub 2013 Dec 11.


Autophagy is a conserved process by which cytoplasmic components are degraded by the lysosome. It is commonly seen as a cytoplasmic event and, until now, nuclear events were not considered of primary importance for this process. However, recent studies have unveiled a transcriptional and epigenetic network that regulates autophagy. The identification of tightly controlled transcription factors (such as TFEB and ZKSCAN3), microRNAs and histone marks (especially acetylated Lys16 of histone 4 (H4K16ac) and dimethylated H3K9 (H3K9me2)) associated with the autophagic process offers an attractive conceptual framework to understand the short-term transcriptional response and potential long-term responses to autophagy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autophagy / genetics*
  • Cell Nucleus / physiology*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • RNA Interference
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Histones
  • MicroRNAs
  • Transcription Factors