Chasing the elusive mammalian microautophagy

Laura Santambrogio, Ana Maria Cuervo

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Different mechanisms for delivery of intracellular components (proteins and organelles) to lysosomes and late endosomes for degradation co-exist in almost all cells and set the basis for distinct autophagic pathways. Cargo can be sequestered inside double-membrane vesicles (or autophagosomes) and reach the lysosomal compartment upon fusion of these vesicles to lysosomes through macroautophagy. In a different type of autophagy, known as chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA), single individual soluble proteins can be targeted one by one to the lysosomal membrane and translocated into the lumen for degradation. Direct sequestration of proteins and organelles by invaginations at the lysosomal membrane that pinch off into the lumen has also been proposed. This process, known as microautophagy, remains poorly understood in mammalian cells. In our recent work, we demonstrate the occurrence of both "in bulk" and "selective" internalization of cytosolic components in late endosomes and identify some of the molecular players of this process that we have named endosomalmicroautophagy (e-MI) due to its resemblance to microautophagy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)652-654
Number of pages3
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2011


  • ESCRT proteins
  • Late endosomes
  • Multivesicular bodies
  • hsc70

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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