Autophagy's secret life: secretion instead of degradation

Essays Biochem. 2017 Dec 12;61(6):637-647. doi: 10.1042/EBC20170024. Print 2017 Dec 12.


Autophagy is conventionally described as a degradative, catabolic pathway and a tributary to the lysosomal system where the cytoplasmic material sequestered by autophagosomes gets degraded. However, autophagosomes or autophagosome-related organelles do not always follow this route. It has recently come to light that autophagy can terminate in cytosolic protein secretion or release of sequestered material from the cells, rather than in their degradation. In this review, we address this relatively new but growing aspect of autophagy as a complex pathway, which is far more versatile than originally anticipated.

Keywords: amphisome; autophagy; cellular secretion; inflammation; lysosome; mitochondria.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autophagy / genetics
  • Autophagy / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / genetics
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Lysosomes / genetics
  • Lysosomes / metabolism
  • Mitochondria / metabolism