• autophagosome;
  • infection;
  • lysosome;
  • omegasome


Autophagy (macroautophagy) is a dynamic process for degradation of cytosolic components. Autophagy has intracellular anti-viral and anti-bacterial functions, and plays a role in the initiation of innate and adaptive immune system responses to viral and bacterial infections. Some viruses encode virulence factors for blocking autophagy, whereas others utilize some autophagy components for their intracellular growth or cellular budding. The “core” autophagy-related (Atg) complexes in mammals are ULK1 protein kinase, Atg9-WIPI-1 and Vps34-beclin1 class III PI3-kinase complexes, and the Atg12 and LC3 conjugation systems. In addition, PI(3)-binding proteins, PI3-phosphatases, and Rab proteins contribute to autophagy. The autophagy process consists of continuous dynamic membrane formation and fusion. In this review, the relationships between these Atg complexes and each process are described. Finally, the critical points for monitoring autophagy, including the use of GFP-LC3 and GFP-Atg5, are discussed.