Transcription factors and cognate signalling cascades in the regulation of autophagy

Biol Rev Camb Philos Soc. 2016 May;91(2):429-51. doi: 10.1111/brv.12177. Epub 2015 Feb 4.


Autophagy is a process that maintains the equilibrium between biosynthesis and the recycling of cellular constituents; it is critical for avoiding the pathophysiology that results from imbalance in cellular homeostasis. Recent reports indicate the need for the design of high-throughput screening assays to identify targets and small molecules for autophagy modulation. For such screening, however, a better understanding of the regulation of autophagy is essential. In addition to regulation by various signalling cascades, regulation of gene expression by transcription factors is also critical. This review focuses on the various transcription factors as well as the corresponding signalling molecules that act together to translate the stimuli to effector molecules that up- or downregulate autophagy. This review rationalizes the importance of these transcription factors functioning in tandem with cognate signalling molecules and their interfaces as possible therapeutic targets for more specific pharmacological interventions.

Keywords: autophagy; gene regulation; nuclear receptors; signalling molecules; transcription factors.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autophagy / drug effects
  • Autophagy / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Transcription Factors / physiology*


  • Transcription Factors