Animal Models to Study Autophagy

ATG11 - An important scaffolding protein in autophagosome formation and fusion

Autophagy is a cellular mechanism used to regulate cell metabolism and to recycle or degrade damaged organelles and proteins. This is accomplished through the engulfment of cargo in a double-membrane structure called the autophagosome. The autophagosome fuses with the vacuole or the lysosome where hydrolytic enzymes facilitate the degradation of biomolecules. Each step of autophagy is a tightly regulated process from the recognition of cargo to the assembly of the autophagosome. ATG11 is an important scaffolding protein that seems to be involved in selective autophagy.

ULK1 - mammalian homologue of the yeast ATG1 kinase

Autophagy is an important cellular process involved in degradation and recycling of cellular macromolecules in response to stress or starvation. Autophagy is carried out in four main phases: phagophore nucleation, autophagosome elongation, docking and fusion with a lysosome, and vesicle breakdown and degradation. ULK1, also known as UNC51-like autophagy activating kinase 1, is a 112 kDa protein with serine-threonine kinase activity. ULK1 is one of two mammalian homologues of the yeast ATG1 kinase, known for its role in autophagy initiation (1).