The bone marrow serves as a reservoir for a multifunctional assortment of stem, progenitor, and mature cells, located in functional anatomical micro-areas termed niches. Within the niche, hematopoietic and mesenchymal progenies establish a symbiotic relationship characterized by interdependency and interconnectedness. The fine-tuned physical and molecular interactions that occur in the niches guarantee physiological bone turnover, blood cell maturation and egression, and moderation of inflammatory and oxidative intramural stressful conditions. The disruption of bone marrow niche integrity causes severe local and systemic pathological settings, and thus bone marrow inhabitants have been the object of extensive study. In this context, research has revealed the importance of the autophagic apparatus for niche homeostatic maintenance. Archetypal autophagic players such as the p62 and the Atg family proteins have been found to exert a variety of actions, some autophagy-related and others not; they moderate the essential features of mesenchymal and hematopoietic stem cells and switch their operational schedules. This chapter focuses on our current understanding of bone marrow functionality and the role of the executive autophagic apparatus in the niche framework. Autophagic mediators such as p62 and Atg7 are currently considered the most important orchestrators of stem and mature cell dynamics in the bone marrow.
Keywords: Atg7; Autophagy; Bone marrow; Hematopoietic stem cells; Mesenchymal stem cells; p62.
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