Yonsei Med J.  2012 Mar;53(2):241-247. 10.3349/ymj.2012.53.2.241.

Autophagy in Innate Recognition of Pathogens and Adaptive Immunity

  • 1Laboratory of Host Defenses, Graduate School of Medical Science and Engineering, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Daejeon, Korea. heungkyu.lee@kaist.ac.kr


Autophagy is a specialized cellular pathway involved in maintaining homeostasis by degrading long-lived cellular proteins and organelles. Recent studies have demonstrated that autophagy is utilized by immune systems to protect host cells from invading pathogens and regulate uncontrolled immune responses. During pathogen recognition, induction of autophagy by pattern recognition receptors leads to the promotion or inhibition of consequent signaling pathways. Furthermore, autophagy plays a role in the delivery of pathogen signatures in order to promote the recognition thereof by pattern recognition receptors. In addition to innate recognition, autophagy has been shown to facilitate MHC class II presentation of intracellular antigens to activate CD4 T cells. In this review, we describe the roles of autophagy in innate recognition of pathogens and adaptive immunity, such as antigen presentation, as well as the clinical relevance of autophagy in the treatment of human diseases.


Autophagy; pathogen recognition; pattern recognition receptors; antigen presentation
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