Phosphoregulation of the autophagy machinery by kinases and phosphatases

Autophagy. 2022 Jan;18(1):104-123. doi: 10.1080/15548627.2021.1909407. Epub 2021 May 10.


Eukaryotic cells use post-translational modifications to diversify and dynamically coordinate the function and properties of protein networks within various cellular processes. For example, the process of autophagy strongly depends on the balanced action of kinases and phosphatases. Highly conserved from the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae to humans, autophagy is a tightly regulated self-degradation process that is crucial for survival, stress adaptation, maintenance of cellular and organismal homeostasis, and cell differentiation and development. Many studies have emphasized the importance of kinases and phosphatases in the regulation of autophagy and identified many of the core autophagy proteins as their direct targets. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge on kinases and phosphatases acting on the core autophagy machinery and discuss the relevance of phosphoregulation for the overall process of autophagy.

Keywords: Autophagosome; PAS; macroautophagy; phagophore; posttranslational modification.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Autophagy* / physiology
  • Autophagy-Related Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Phosphoric Monoester Hydrolases / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins* / metabolism


  • Autophagy-Related Proteins
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • Phosphoric Monoester Hydrolases

Grants and funding

This work was supported by the H2020 European Research Council [769065]; NWO [OCENW.KLEIN.118]; NWO [ALWOP.310]; DFG Germany’s Excellence Strategy [390939984]; H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions [765912]; DFG SBF 1177 [259130777]; DFG SFB 1381 [403222702]; H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions [765912]; ZonMw [91217002].