Autophagy is a catabolic process with an essential function in the maintenance of cellular and tissue homeostasis. It is primarily recognised for its role in the degradation of dysfunctional proteins and unwanted organelles, however in recent years the range of autophagy substrates has also been extended to lipids. Degradation of lipids via autophagy is termed lipophagy. The ability of autophagy to contribute to the maintenance of lipo-homeostasis becomes particularly relevant in the context of genetic lysosomal storage disorders where perturbations of autophagic flux have been suggested to contribute to the disease aetiology. Here we review recent discoveries of the molecular mechanisms mediating lipid turnover by the autophagy pathways. We further focus on the relevance of autophagy, and specifically lipophagy, to the disease mechanisms. Moreover, autophagy is also discussed as a potential therapeutic target in several key lysosomal storage disorders.
Keywords: Autophagy; Lipid metabolism; Lipid storage disorders.
Copyright © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.