Autophagy is a cell survival mechanism by which bulk cytoplasmic material, including soluble macromolecules and organelles, is targeted for lysosomal degradation. The role of autophagy in diverse cellular processes such as metabolic stress, neurodegeneration, cancer, aging, immunity, and inflammatory diseases is being increasingly recognized. Epithelial cell junctions play an integral role in the cell homeostasis via physical binding, regulating paracellular pathways, integrating extracellular cues into intracellular signaling, and cell-cell communication. Recent data indicates that cell junction composition is very dynamic. The junctional protein complexes are actively regulated in response to various intra- and extra-cellular clues by intracellular trafficking and degradation pathways. This review discusses the recent and emerging information on how autophagy regulates various epithelial cell junctions. The knowledge of autophagy regulation of epithelial junctions will provide further rationale for targeting autophagy in a wide variety of human disease conditions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cell Biology