Last changed: 04 January 2020

Autophagy (from Greek, ‘eat oneself’) is a major catabolic process in eukaryotic cells wherein a portion of the cytoplasm is engulfed by a specific membrane, delivered to lysosomes (in animals) or vacuoles (in fungi or plants), and finally digested by hydrolytic enzymes.

During periods of stress or starvation, autophagy promotes cell and organismal survival by eliminating damaged proteins or organelles and by converting breakdown products to energy and synthetic processes. Consequently, autophagy is intimately connected with cellular homeostasis and is therefore a target of current efforts to suppress aging. When autophagy progresses beyond a certain threshold and eliminates large proportion of the cytosol and organelles, the cells finally die, and autophagy in such cases acts as an executioner of cell death.

We study mechanisms responsible for the dual (cytoprotective and cytotoxic) function of autophagy and also develop tools to manipulate autophagy in plants.

Selected publications

AN DauphineeC CardosoK DalmanJA OhlssonS Berglund FickS RobertGR HicksPV BozhkovEA Minina (2019) Chemical screening pipeline for identification of specific plant autophagy modulators. Plant Physiol. 2019 Nov;181(3):855-866.

Bozhkov PV (2018) Plant autophagy: mechanisms and functions. J Exp Bot 69, 1281-1285.

Üstün S, Hafrén A, Liu Q, Marshall RS, Minina EA, Bozhkov PV, Vierstra RD, Hofius D (2018) Bacteria exploit autophagy for proteasome degradation and enhanced virulence in plants. Plant Cell 30, 668-685

Elander PH, Minina EA, and Bozhkov PV (2018) Autophagy in turnover of lipid stores: trans-kingdom
comparison. J Exp Bot 69, 1301-1311.

Minina EA, Moschou PN, Vetukuri RR, Sanchez-Vera V, Cardoso C, Liu Q, Elander PH, Dalman K, Beganovic M, Yilmaz JL, Marmon S, Shabala L, Suarez MF, Ljung K, Novák O, Shabala S, Stymne S, Hofius D and Bozhkov PV (2018) Transcriptional stimulation of rate-limiting components of the autophagic pathway improves plant fitness. J Exp Bot 69, 1415-1432.

Avin-Wittenberg T, Baluška F, Bozhkov PV, Elander PH, Fernie AR, Galili G, Hassan A, Hofius D, Isono E, Le Bars R, Masclaux-Daubresse C, Minina EA, Peled-Zehavi H, Coll NS, Sandalio LM, Satiat-Jeunemaitre B, Sirko A, Testillano PS, Batoko H (2018) Review of Autophagy-related Approaches for Improving Nutrient Use Efficiency and Crop Yield Protection. J Exp Bot 69, 1335-1353.

Minina EA, Moschou PN, and Bozhkov PV (2017) Limited and digestive proteolysis: crosstalk between evolutionary conserved pathways​. New Phytologist 215, 958–964.

Klionsky DJ et al. (including Bozhkov and Minina) (2016) Guidelines for the use and interpretation of assays for monitoring autophagy (3rd edition). Autophagy 12, 1-222.

Minina EA, Bozhkov PV and Hofius D (2014) Autophagy as initiator or executioner of cell death. Trends in Plant Science 19: 692-697

Minina EA, Smertenko AP and Bozhkov PV (2014) Vacuolar cell death in plants: metacaspase releases the brakes on autophagy. Autophagy 10: 928-929.

Minina E, Filonova L, Fukada K, Savenkov EI, Sanchez-Vera V, Suarez MF, Daniel G, Clapham D, Gogvadze V, Zhivotovsky B, Smertenko AP and Bozhkov PV (2013) Metacaspase and autophagy determine the mode of plant cell death. J Cell Biol. 203: 917-927.

Minina EA, Sanchez-Vera V, Moschou PN, Suarez MF, Sundberg E, Weih M and Bozhkov PV. (2013) Autophagy mediates caloric restriction-induced lifespan extension in Arabidopsis. Aging Cell 12: 327-329.

Klionsky DJ et al. (including Bozhkov) (2012) Guidelines for the use and interpretation of assays for monitoring autophagy. Autophagy 8, 445-544.

Bozhkov PV and Jansson C. (2007) Autophagy and cell-death proteases in plants: Two wheels of a funeral cart. Autophagy 3: 136-138.

Boren M, Höglund A-S, Bozhkov P and Jansson C (2006) Developmental regulation of a VEIDase caspase-like proteolytic activity in barley caryopsis. J. Exp. Bot 57: 3747-3753.


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