The Babraham Institute Publications database contains details of all publications resulting from our research groups and scientific services.

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Title / Authors / Details Open Access Download

Lipopolysaccharide-induced neuroinflammation induces presynaptic disruption through a direct action on brain tissue involving microglia-derived interleukin 1 beta.
Sheppard O, Coleman MP, Durrant CS

Systemic inflammation has been linked to synapse loss and cognitive decline in human patients and animal models. A role for microglial release of pro-inflammatory cytokines has been proposed based on in vivo and primary culture studies. However, mechanisms are hard to study in vivo as specific microglial ablation is challenging and the extracellular fluid cannot be sampled without invasive methods. Primary cultures have different limitations as the intricate multicellular architecture in the brain is not fully reproduced. It is essential to confirm proposed brain-specific mechanisms of inflammatory synapse loss directly in brain tissue. Organotypic hippocampal slice cultures (OHSCs) retain much of the in vivo neuronal architecture, synaptic connections and diversity of cell types whilst providing convenient access to manipulate and sample the culture medium and observe cellular reactions.

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Journal of neuroinflammation , 16 , 1742-2094 , 2019

PMID: 31103036

Open Access

MicroRNA-155 is essential for the optimal proliferation and survival of plasmablast B cells.
Arbore G, Henley T, Biggins L, Andrews S, Vigorito E, Turner M, Leyland R

A fast antibody response can be critical to contain rapidly dividing pathogens. This can be achieved by the expansion of antigen-specific B cells in response to T-cell help followed by differentiation into plasmablasts. MicroRNA-155 (miR-155) is required for optimal T-cell-dependent extrafollicular responses via regulation of PU.1, although the cellular processes underlying this defect are largely unknown. Here, we show that miR-155 regulates the early expansion of B-blasts and later on the survival and proliferation of plasmablasts in a B-cell-intrinsic manner, by tracking antigen-specific B cells in vivo since the onset of antigen stimulation. In agreement, comparative analysis of the transcriptome of miR-155-sufficient and miR-155-deficient plasmablasts at the peak of the response showed that the main processes regulated by miR-155 were DNA metabolic process, DNA replication, and cell cycle. Thus, miR-155 controls the extent of the extrafollicular response by regulating the survival and proliferation of B-blasts, plasmablasts and, consequently, antibody production.

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Life science alliance , 2 , 2575-1077 , 2019

PMID: 31097471

Open Access

Long-range enhancer-promoter contacts in gene expression control.
Schoenfelder S, Fraser P

Spatiotemporal gene expression programmes are orchestrated by transcriptional enhancers, which are key regulatory DNA elements that engage in physical contacts with their target-gene promoters, often bridging considerable genomic distances. Recent progress in genomics, genome editing and microscopy methodologies have enabled the genome-wide mapping of enhancer-promoter contacts and their functional dissection. In this Review, we discuss novel concepts on how enhancer-promoter interactions are established and maintained, how the 3D architecture of mammalian genomes both facilitates and constrains enhancer-promoter contacts, and the role they play in gene expression control during normal development and disease.

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Nature reviews. Genetics , , 1471-0064 , 2019

PMID: 31086298

Who plays the ferryman: ATG2 channels lipids into the forming autophagosome.
Ktistakis NT

Expansion of the autophagosomal membrane requires a mechanism to supply lipids while excluding most membrane proteins. In this issue, Valverde et al. (2019. identify ATG2, a member of the autophagy-related protein family, as a lipid transfer protein and provide important novel insights on how autophagosomes grow.

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The Journal of cell biology , , 1540-8140 , 2019

PMID: 31076453

Immunodeficiency, autoimmune thrombocytopenia and enterocolitis caused by autosomal recessive deficiency of PIK3CD-encoded phosphoinositide 3-kinase δ.
Swan DJ, Aschenbrenner D, Lamb CA, Chakraborty K, Clark J, Pandey S, Engelhardt KR, Chen R, Cavounidis A, Ding Y, Krasnogor N, Carey CD, Acres M, Needham S, Cant AJ, Arkwright PD, Chandra A, Okkenhaug K, Uhlig HH, Hambleton S

Haematologica , , 1592-8721 , 2019

PMID: 31073077

Open Access

MEK1/2 inhibitor withdrawal reverses acquired resistance driven by BRAF amplification whereas KRAS amplification promotes EMT-chemoresistance.
Sale MJ, Balmanno K, Saxena J, Ozono E, Wojdyla K, McIntyre RE, Gilley R, Woroniuk A, Howarth KD, Hughes G, Dry JR, Arends MJ, Caro P, Oxley D, Ashton S, Adams DJ, Saez-Rodriguez J, Smith PD, Cook SJ

Acquired resistance to MEK1/2 inhibitors (MEKi) arises through amplification of BRAF or KRAS to reinstate ERK1/2 signalling. Here we show that BRAF amplification and MEKi resistance are reversible following drug withdrawal. Cells with BRAF amplification are addicted to MEKi to maintain a precise level of ERK1/2 signalling that is optimal for cell proliferation and survival, and tumour growth in vivo. Robust ERK1/2 activation following MEKi withdrawal drives a p57-dependent G1 cell cycle arrest and senescence or expression of NOXA and cell death, selecting against those cells with amplified BRAF. p57 expression is required for loss of BRAF amplification and reversal of MEKi resistance. Thus, BRAF amplification confers a selective disadvantage during drug withdrawal, validating intermittent dosing to forestall resistance. In contrast, resistance driven by KRAS amplification is not reversible; rather ERK1/2 hyperactivation drives ZEB1-dependent epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and chemoresistance, arguing strongly against the use of drug holidays in cases of KRAS amplification.

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Nature communications , 10 , 2041-1723 , 2019

PMID: 31048689

FcγRIIb differentially regulates pre-immune and germinal center B cell tolerance in mouse and human.
Espéli M, Bashford-Rogers R, Sowerby JM, Alouche N, Wong L, Denton AE, Linterman MA, Smith KGC

Several tolerance checkpoints exist throughout B cell development to control autoreactive B cells and prevent the generation of pathogenic autoantibodies. FcγRIIb is an Fc receptor that inhibits B cell activation and, if defective, is associated with autoimmune disease, yet its impact on specific B cell tolerance checkpoints is unknown. Here we show that reduced expression of FcγRIIb enhances the deletion and anergy of autoreactive immature B cells, but in contrast promotes autoreactive B cell expansion in the germinal center and serum autoantibody production, even in response to exogenous, non-self antigens. Our data thus show that FcγRIIb has opposing effects on pre-immune and post-immune tolerance checkpoints, and suggest that B cell tolerance requires the control of bystander germinal center B cells with low or no affinity for the immunizing antigen.

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Nature communications , 10 , 2041-1723 , 2019

PMID: 31036800

Open Access

Regulation of regulatory T cells in cancer.
Stockis J, Roychoudhuri R, Halim TYF

The inflammatory response to transformed cells forms the cornerstone of natural or therapeutically-induced protective immunity to cancer. Regulatory T (Treg) cells are known for their critical role in suppressing inflammation, and therefore can antagonize effective anti-cancer immune responses. As such, Treg cells can play detrimental roles in tumour progression and in the response to both conventional and immune-based cancer therapy. Recent advances in our understanding of Treg cells reveal complex niche-specific regulatory programs and functions, which are likely to extrapolate to cancer. The regulation of Treg cells is reliant on upstream cues from haematopoietic and non-immune cells, which dictates their genetic, epigenetic, and downstream functional programmes. In this Review we will discuss how Treg cells are themselves regulated in normal and transformed tissues, and the implications of this crosstalk on tumour growth. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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Immunology , , 1365-2567 , 2019

PMID: 31032905

Open Access

A DNMT3A PWWP mutation leads to methylation of bivalent chromatin and growth retardation in mice.
Sendžikaitė G, Hanna CW, Stewart-Morgan KR, Ivanova E, Kelsey G

DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs) deposit DNA methylation, which regulates gene expression and is essential for mammalian development. Histone post-translational modifications modulate the recruitment and activity of DNMTs. The PWWP domains of DNMT3A and DNMT3B are posited to interact with histone 3 lysine 36 trimethylation (H3K36me3); however, the functionality of this interaction for DNMT3A remains untested in vivo. Here we present a mouse model carrying a D329A point mutation in the DNMT3A PWWP domain. The mutation causes dominant postnatal growth retardation. At the molecular level, it results in progressive DNA hypermethylation across domains marked by H3K27me3 and bivalent chromatin, and de-repression of developmental regulatory genes in adult hypothalamus. Evaluation of non-CpG methylation, a marker of de novo methylation, further demonstrates the altered recruitment and activity of DNMT3A at bivalent domains. This work provides key molecular insights into the function of the DNMT3A-PWWP domain and role of DNMT3A in regulating postnatal growth.

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Nature communications , 10 , 2041-1723 , 2019

PMID: 31015495

Open Access

Butyrate Protects Mice from Clostridium difficile-Induced Colitis through an HIF-1-Dependent Mechanism.
Fachi JL, Felipe JS, Pral LP, da Silva BK, Corrêa RO, de Andrade MCP, da Fonseca DM, Basso PJ, Câmara NOS, de Sales E Souza ÉL, Dos Santos Martins F, Guima SES, Thomas AM, Setubal JC, Magalhães YT, Forti FL, Candreva T, Rodrigues HG, de Jesus MB, Consonni SR, Farias ADS, Varga-Weisz P, Vinolo MAR

Antibiotic-induced dysbiosis is a key factor predisposing intestinal infection by Clostridium difficile. Here, we show that interventions that restore butyrate intestinal levels mitigate clinical and pathological features of C. difficile-induced colitis. Butyrate has no effect on C. difficile colonization or toxin production. However, it attenuates intestinal inflammation and improves intestinal barrier function in infected mice, as shown by reduced intestinal epithelial permeability and bacterial translocation, effects associated with the increased expression of components of intestinal epithelial cell tight junctions. Activation of the transcription factor HIF-1 in intestinal epithelial cells exerts a protective effect in C. difficile-induced colitis, and it is required for butyrate effects. We conclude that butyrate protects intestinal epithelial cells from damage caused by C. difficile toxins via the stabilization of HIF-1, mitigating local inflammatory response and systemic consequences of the infection.

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Cell reports , 27 , 2211-1247 , 2019

PMID: 30995474

Open Access

TET3 prevents terminal differentiation of adult NSCs by a non-catalytic action at Snrpn.
Montalbán-Loro R, Lozano-Ureña A, Ito M, Krueger C, Reik W, Ferguson-Smith AC, Ferrón SR

Ten-eleven-translocation (TET) proteins catalyze DNA hydroxylation, playing an important role in demethylation of DNA in mammals. Remarkably, although hydroxymethylation levels are high in the mouse brain, the potential role of TET proteins in adult neurogenesis is unknown. We show here that a non-catalytic action of TET3 is essentially required for the maintenance of the neural stem cell (NSC) pool in the adult subventricular zone (SVZ) niche by preventing premature differentiation of NSCs into non-neurogenic astrocytes. This occurs through direct binding of TET3 to the paternal transcribed allele of the imprinted gene Small nuclear ribonucleoprotein-associated polypeptide N (Snrpn), contributing to transcriptional repression of the gene. The study also identifies BMP2 as an effector of the astrocytic terminal differentiation mediated by SNRPN. Our work describes a novel mechanism of control of an imprinted gene in the regulation of adult neurogenesis through an unconventional role of TET3.

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Nature communications , 10 , 2041-1723 , 2019

PMID: 30979904

Open Access

RNA binding proteins in hematopoiesis and hematological malignancy.
Hodson DJ, Screen M, Turner M

RNA binding proteins (RBPs) regulate fundamental processes such as differentiation and self-renewal by enabling the dynamic control of protein abundance or isoforms, or through the regulation of non-coding RNA. RBPs are increasingly appreciated as being essential for normal hematopoiesis and they are understood to play fundamental roles in hematological malignancies by acting as oncogenes or tumor suppressors. Alternative splicing has been shown to play roles in the development of specific hematopoietic lineages and sequence specific mutations in RBPs lead to dysregulated splicing in myeloid and lymphoid leukemias. RBPs that regulate translation contribute to the development and function of hematological lineages, act as nodes for the action of multiple signaling pathways and contribute to hematological malignancies. These insights broaden our mechanistic understanding of the molecular regulation of hematopoiesis and offer opportunities to develop disease biomarkers and new therapeutic modalities.

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Blood , , 1528-0020 , 2019

PMID: 30967369

Open Access

Macropinocytosis and autophagy crosstalk in nutrient scavenging.
Florey O, Overholtzer M

Adaptive strategies used by cells to scavenge and recycle essential nutrients are important for survival in nutrient-depleted environments such as cancer tissues. Autophagy and macropinocytosis are two major mechanisms that promote nutrient recycling and scavenging, which share considerable, yet poorly understood, cross-regulation. Here we review recent findings that connect these starvation response mechanisms and discuss the implications of their crosstalk. This article is part of the Theo Murphy meeting issue 'Macropinocytosis'.

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Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences , 374 , 1471-2970 , 2019

PMID: 30967004

Open Access

A scoping review of ontologies related to human behaviour change.
Norris E, Finnerty AN, Hastings J, Stokes G, Michie S

Ontologies are classification systems specifying entities, definitions and inter-relationships for a given domain, with the potential to advance knowledge about human behaviour change. A scoping review was conducted to: (1) identify what ontologies exist related to human behaviour change, (2) describe the methods used to develop these ontologies and (3) assess the quality of identified ontologies. Using a systematic search, 2,303 papers were identified. Fifteen ontologies met the eligibility criteria for inclusion, developed in areas such as cognition, mental disease and emotions. Methods used for developing the ontologies were expert consultation, data-driven techniques and reuse of terms from existing taxonomies, terminologies and ontologies. Best practices used in ontology development and maintenance were documented. The review did not identify any ontologies representing the breadth and detail of human behaviour change. This suggests that advancing behavioural science would benefit from the development of a behaviour change intervention ontology.

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Nature human behaviour , 3 , 2397-3374 , 2019

PMID: 30944444

Inborn errors of immunity: single mutations unravel mechanisms of immune disease.
Liston A, Humblet-Baron S

Immunology and cell biology , , 1440-1711 , 2019

PMID: 30942931

Translation of inhaled drug optimization strategies into clinical pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics using GSK2292767A, a novel inhaled PI3Kδ inhibitor.
Begg M, Edwards CD, Hamblin JN, Pifani E, Wilson R, Gilbert J, Vitulli G, Mallett D, Morrell J, Hingle MI, Uddin S, Ehtesham F, Marotti M, Harell A, Newman C, Fernando D, Clark J, Cahn A, Hessel EM

This study describes the pharmacokinetic (PK) and pharmacodynamic (PD) profile of GSK2292767A, a novel low solubility inhaled PI3Kδ inhibitor developed as an alternative to nemiralisib, which is a highly soluble inhaled inhibitor of PI3Kδ with a lung profile consistent with once-daily dosing. GSK2292767A has a similar in vitro cellular profile to nemiralisib and reduces eosinophilia in a murine PD model by 63% (n=5, p<0.05). To explore whether a low soluble compound results in effective PI3Kδ inhibition in humans, a first time in human study was conducted with GSK2292767A in healthy volunteers who smoke. GSK2292767A was generally well tolerated with headache being the most common reported adverse event. PD changes in induced sputum were measured in combination with drug concentrations in plasma from single (0.05-2 mg, n=37), and 14-day repeat (2 mg, n=12) doses of GSK2292767A. Trough bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) for PK was taken after 14 days repeat dosing. GSK2292767A displayed a linear increase in plasma exposure with dose, with marginal accumulation after 14 days. Induced sputum showed a 27% (90% CI 15, 37) reduction in phosphatidylinositol-trisphosphate (PIP3, the product of PI3K activation) 3 h after a single dose. Reduction was not maintained 24 h after single or repeat dosing. BAL analysis confirmed presence of GSK2292767A in lung at 24 h, consistent with the preclinical lung retention profile. Despite good lung retention, target engagement was only present at 3 h. This exposure-response disconnect is an important observation for future inhaled drug design strategies considering low solubility to drive lung retention.

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The Journal of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics , , 1521-0103 , 2019

PMID: 30940692

Citrullination of HP1γ chromodomain affects association with chromatin.
Wiese M, Bannister AJ, Basu S, Boucher W, Wohlfahrt K, Christophorou MA, Nielsen ML, Klenerman D, Laue ED, Kouzarides T

Stem cell differentiation involves major chromatin reorganisation, heterochromatin formation and genomic relocalisation of structural proteins, including heterochromatin protein 1 gamma (HP1γ). As the principal reader of the repressive histone marks H3K9me2/3, HP1 plays a key role in numerous processes including heterochromatin formation and maintenance.

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Epigenetics & chromatin , 12 , 1 ,

PMID: 30940194

Open Access

Membrane Cholesterol Efflux Drives Tumor-Associated Macrophage Reprogramming and Tumor Progression.
Goossens P, Rodriguez-Vita J, Etzerodt A, Masse M, Rastoin O, Gouirand V, Ulas T, Papantonopoulou O, Van Eck M, Auphan-Anezin N, Bebien M, Verthuy C, Vu Manh TP, Turner M, Dalod M, Schultze JL, Lawrence T

Macrophages possess intrinsic tumoricidal activity, yet tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) rapidly adopt an alternative phenotype within the tumor microenvironment that is marked by tumor-promoting immunosuppressive and trophic functions. The mechanisms that promote such TAM polarization remain poorly understood, but once identified, they may represent important therapeutic targets to block the tumor-promoting functions of TAMs and restore their anti-tumor potential. Here, we have characterized TAMs in a mouse model of metastatic ovarian cancer. We show that ovarian cancer cells promote membrane-cholesterol efflux and depletion of lipid rafts from macrophages. Increased cholesterol efflux promoted IL-4-mediated reprogramming, including inhibition of IFNγ-induced gene expression. Genetic deletion of ABC transporters, which mediate cholesterol efflux, reverts the tumor-promoting functions of TAMs and reduces tumor progression. These studies reveal an unexpected role for membrane-cholesterol efflux in driving TAM-mediated tumor progression while pointing to a potentially novel anti-tumor therapeutic strategy.

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Cell metabolism , , 1932-7420 , 2019

PMID: 30930171

The homophilic receptor PTPRK selectively dephosphorylates multiple junctional regulators to promote cell-cell adhesion.
Fearnley GW, Young KA, Edgar JR, Antrobus R, Hay IM, Liang WC, Martinez-Martin N, Lin W, Deane JE, Sharpe HJ

Cell-cell communication in multicellular organisms depends on the dynamic and reversible phosphorylation of protein tyrosine residues. The receptor-linked protein tyrosine phosphatases (RPTPs) receive cues from the extracellular environment and are well placed to influence cell signaling. However, the direct events downstream of these receptors have been challenging to resolve. We report here that the homophilic receptor PTPRK is stabilized at cell-cell contacts in epithelial cells. By combining interaction studies, quantitative tyrosine phosphoproteomics, proximity labeling and dephosphorylation assays we identify high confidence PTPRK substrates. PTPRK directly and selectively dephosphorylates at least five substrates, including Afadin, PARD3 and δ-catenin family members, which are all important cell-cell adhesion regulators. In line with this, loss of PTPRK phosphatase activity leads to disrupted cell junctions and increased invasive characteristics. Thus, identifying PTPRK substrates provides insight into its downstream signaling and a potential molecular explanation for its proposed tumor suppressor function.

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eLife , 8 , 2050-084X , 2019

PMID: 30924770

Open Access

T cell stemness and dysfunction in tumors are triggered by a common mechanism.
Vodnala SK, Eil R, Kishton RJ, Sukumar M, Yamamoto TN, Ha NH, Lee PH, Shin M, Patel SJ, Yu Z, Palmer DC, Kruhlak MJ, Liu X, Locasale JW, Huang J, Roychoudhuri R, Finkel T, Klebanoff CA, Restifo NP

A paradox of tumor immunology is that tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes are dysfunctional in situ, yet are capable of stem cell-like behavior including self-renewal, expansion, and multipotency, resulting in the eradication of large metastatic tumors. We find that the overabundance of potassium in the tumor microenvironment underlies this dichotomy, triggering suppression of T cell effector function while preserving stemness. High levels of extracellular potassium constrain T cell effector programs by limiting nutrient uptake, thereby inducing autophagy and reduction of histone acetylation at effector and exhaustion loci, which in turn produces CD8 T cells with improved in vivo persistence, multipotency, and tumor clearance. This mechanistic knowledge advances our understanding of T cell dysfunction and may lead to novel approaches that enable the development of enhanced T cell strategies for cancer immunotherapy.

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Science (New York, N.Y.) , 363 , 1095-9203 , 2019

PMID: 30923193

The Aire family expands.
Liston A, Dooley J

T cell tolerance depends upon Aire-expressing cells to purge the T cell repertoire of autoreactive clones. Once thought to be the exclusive domain of thymic epithelial cells, a new study by Yamano et al. ( in this issue of identifies ILC3-like cells in the lymph nodes with similar properties.

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The Journal of experimental medicine , 1 , 1540-9538 , 2019

PMID: 30923044

Open Access

Methods for measuring misfolded protein clearance in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
Samant RS, Frydman J

Protein misfolding in the cell is linked to an array of diseases, including cancers, cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, and numerous neurodegenerative disorders. Therefore, investigating cellular pathways by which misfolded proteins are trafficked and cleared ("protein quality control") is of both mechanistic and therapeutic importance. The clearance of most misfolded proteins involves the covalent attachment of one or more ubiquitin molecules; however, the precise fate of the ubiquitinated protein varies greatly, depending on the linkages present in the ubiquitin chain. Here, we discuss approaches for quantifying linkage-specific ubiquitination and clearance of misfolded proteins in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae-a model organism used extensively for interrogation of protein quality control pathways, but which presents its own unique challenges for cell and molecular biology experiments. We present a fluorescence microscopy-based assay for monitoring the clearance of misfolded protein puncta, a cycloheximide-chase assay for calculating misfolded protein half-life, and two antibody-based methods for quantifying specific ubiquitin linkages on tagged misfolded proteins, including a 96-well plate-based ELISA. We hope these methods will be of use to the protein quality control, protein degradation, and ubiquitin biology communities.

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Methods in enzymology , 619 , 1557-7988 , 2019

PMID: 30910025

Entosis Controls a Developmental Cell Clearance in C. elegans.
Lee Y, Hamann JC, Pellegrino M, Durgan J, Domart MC, Collinson LM, Haynes CM, Florey O, Overholtzer M

Metazoan cell death mechanisms are diverse and include numerous non-apoptotic programs. One program called entosis involves the invasion of live cells into their neighbors and is known to occur in cancers. Here, we identify a developmental function for entosis: to clear the male-specific linker cell in C. elegans. The linker cell leads migration to shape the gonad and is removed to facilitate fusion of the gonad to the cloaca. We find that the linker cell is cleared in a manner involving cell-cell adhesions and cell-autonomous control of uptake through linker cell actin. Linker cell entosis generates a lobe structure that is deposited at the site of gonad-to-cloaca fusion and is removed during mating. Inhibition of lobe scission inhibits linker cell death, demonstrating that the linker cell invades its host while alive. Our findings demonstrate a developmental function for entosis: to eliminate a migrating cell and facilitate gonad-to-cloaca fusion, which is required for fertility.

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Cell reports , 26 , 2211-1247 , 2019

PMID: 30893595

Open Access

ER platforms mediating autophagosome generation.
Ktistakis NT

The origin of the autophagosomal membrane started to be debated by scientists working in the field within one year of the modern definition of autophagy in 1963. There is now converging evidence from older and newer studies that the endoplasmic reticulum is involved in formation of autophagosomes. Thus, it is possible to trace from early morphological work - done without the benefit of molecular descriptions - to recent studies - dissecting how specific proteins nucleate autophagosome biogenesis - a long series of experimental findings that are beginning to answer the 55-year old question with some confidence. The view that has emerged is that specialised regions of the endoplasmic reticulum, in dynamic cross talk with most intracellular organelles via membrane contact sites, provide a platform for autophagosome biogenesis.

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Biochimica et biophysica acta. Molecular and cell biology of lipids , , 1879-2618 , 2019

PMID: 30890442