Exp Mol Med.  2012 Feb;44(2):99-108. 10.3858/emm.2012.44.2.032.

Autophagy and bacterial infectious diseases

  • 1Department of Microbiology, Chungnam National University School of Medicine, Daejeon 301-747, Korea. hayoungj@cnu.ac.kr
  • 2Infection Signaling Network Research Center, Chungnam National University School of Medicine, Daejeon 301-747, Korea.
  • 3Department of Genetics, Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka University, Osaka 565-0871, Japan.


Autophagy is a housekeeping process that maintains cellular homeostasis through recycling of nutrients and degradation of damaged or aged cytoplasmic constituents. Over the past several years, accumulating evidence has suggested that autophagy can function as an intracellular innate defense pathway in response to infection with a variety of bacteria and viruses. Autophagy plays a role as a specialized immunologic effector and regulates innate immunity to exert antimicrobial defense mechanisms. Numerous bacterial pathogens have developed the ability to invade host cells or to subvert host autophagy to establish a persistent infection. In this review, we have summarized the recent advances in our understanding of the interaction between antibacterial autophagy (xenophagy) and different bacterial pathogens.


autophagy; cytokines; immunity, Innate; infection; reactive oxygen species
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