chapter  3
24 Pages

Cross Talk between Autophagy and Cell Death Pathways

Toward Understanding a System
WithChrisna Swart, Andre Du Toit, Ben Loos

This chapter reviews some of the current literature that may enable people to better discern the principle molecular pathways that regulate the cellular stress response. The early classification attempts of cell death were based on morphological observation, and hence received their name initially based on what was observed mostly under the light microscope. Cell death is strongly metabolically controlled. Central to the network that governs cellular fate are the mitochondria, functioning as a major switchboard, integrating metabolic sensors with metabolites and signal transduction pathways. Autophagic flux by its nature of definition is characterized by a given protein degradation rate and can hence only be quantified when assessing the change of cargo or autophagosomes in time. Autophagy and apoptosis cooperate to influence cellular fate. The overlap between autophagy and necrosis, however, is rather complex and the exact underlying mechanisms remain largely unknown and somewhat controversial. Apoptosis is employed upon cell damage, stress, during physiological development, and morphogenesis.