Autophagosome dynamics in neurodegeneration at a glance

Yvette C. Wong, Erika L.F. Holzbaur*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


Autophagy is an essential homeostatic process for degrading cellular cargo. Aging organelles and protein aggregates are degraded by the autophagosome-lysosome pathway, which is particularly crucial in neurons. There is increasing evidence implicating defective autophagy in neurodegenerative diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease. Recent work using live-cell imaging has identified autophagy as a predominantly polarized process in neuronal axons; autophagosomes preferentially form at the axon tip and undergo retrograde transport back towards the cell body. Autophagosomes engulf cargo including damaged mitochondria (mitophagy) and protein aggregates, and subsequently fuse with lysosomes during axonal transport to effectively degrade their internalized cargo. In this Cell Science at a Glance article and the accompanying poster, we review recent progress on the dynamics of the autophagy pathway in neurons and highlight the defects observed at each step of this pathway during neurodegeneration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1259-1267
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of cell science
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Autophagy
  • Axonal transport
  • Huntington's disease
  • Parkinson's disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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