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Xu, T., Nicolson, S., Denton, D., Kumar, S. (2015). Distinct requirements of Autophagy-related genes in programmed cell death.  Cell Death Differ. 22(11): 1792--1802.
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Research paper

Although most programmed cell death (PCD) during animal development occurs by caspase-dependent apoptosis, autophagy-dependent cell death is also important in specific contexts. In previous studies, we established that PCD of the obsolete Drosophila larval midgut tissue is dependent on autophagy and can occur in the absence of the main components of the apoptotic pathway. As autophagy is primarily a survival mechanism in response to stress such as starvation, it is currently unclear if the regulation and mechanism of autophagy as a pro-death pathway is distinct to that as pro-survival. To establish the requirement of the components of the autophagy pathway during cell death, we examined the effect of systematically knocking down components of the autophagy machinery on autophagy induction and timing of midgut PCD. We found that there is a distinct requirement of the individual components of the autophagy pathway in a pro-death context. Furthermore, we show that TORC1 is upstream of autophagy induction in the midgut indicating that while the machinery may be distinct the activation may occur similarly in PCD and during starvation-induced autophagy signalling. Our data reveal that while autophagy initiation occurs similarly in different cellular contexts, there is a tissue/function-specific requirement for the components of the autophagic machinery.

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PMC4648326 (PMC) (EuropePMC)
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    Cell Death Differ.
    Cell Death and Differentiation
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    Alleles (46)
    Genes (24)
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    Transgenic Constructs (44)