Autophagy is a highly conserved processing mechanism in eukaryotes whereby cytoplasmic components are engulfed in double-membrane vesicles called autophagosomes and are delivered into organelles such as lysosomes (mammal) or vacuoles (yeast/plant) for degradation and recycling of the resulting molecules. Isolation of yeast AUTOPHAGY (ATG) genes has facilitated the identification of corresponding Arabidopsis ATG genes based on sequence similarity. Genetic and molecular analyses using knockout and/or knockdown mutants of those genes have unraveled the biological functions of autophagy during plant development, nutrient recycling, and environmental stress responses. Additional roles for autophagy have been suggested in the degradation of oxidized proteins during oxidative stress and the regulation of hypersensitive response (HR)-programmed cell death (PCD) during innate immunity. Our review summarizes knowledge about the structure and function of autophagic pathways and ATG components, and the biological roles of autophagy in plants.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Plant Science