The ins and outs of autophagy and metabolism in hematopoietic and leukemic stem cells: food for thought

Ianniciello, A., Rattigan, K. M. and Helgason, G. V. (2018) The ins and outs of autophagy and metabolism in hematopoietic and leukemic stem cells: food for thought. Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology, 6, 120. (doi: 10.3389/fcell.2018.00120) (PMID:30320108) (PMCID:PMC6169402)

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Discovered over fifty years ago, autophagy is a double-edged blade. On one hand, it regulates cellular energy sources by “cannibalization” of its own cellular components, feeding on proteins and other unused cytoplasmic factors. On the other, it is a recycling process that removes dangerous waste from the cytoplasm keeping the cell clean and healthy. Failure of the autophagic machinery is translated in dysfunction of the immune response, in aging, and in the progression of pathologies such as Parkinson disease, diabetes, and cancer. Further investigation identified autophagy with a protective role in specific types of cancer, whereas in other cases it can promote tumorigenesis. Evidence shows that treatment with chemotherapeutics can upregulate autophagy in order to maintain a stable intracellular environment promoting drug resistance and cell survival. Leukemia, a blood derived cancer, represents one of the malignancies in which autophagy is responsible for drug treatment failure. Inhibition of autophagy is becoming a strategic target for leukemic stem cell (LSC) eradication. Interestingly, the latest findings demonstrate that LSCs show higher levels of mitochondrial metabolism compared to normal stem cells. With this review, we aim to explore the links between autophagy and metabolism in the hematopoietic system, with special focus on primitive LSCs.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This work was funded by The Princess Royal Tenovus Scotland Medical Research Scholarship (awarded by Tenovus Scotland), The Kay Kendall Leukemia Fund, Leuka and The Howat Foundation.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Rattigan, Dr Kevin and Ianniciello, Ms Angela and Helgason, Professor Vignir
Authors: Ianniciello, A., Rattigan, K. M., and Helgason, G. V.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Cancer Sciences
Journal Name:Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology
Publisher:Frontiers Media
ISSN (Online):2296-634X
Published Online:26 September 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 Ianniciello, Rattigan and Helgason
First Published:First published in Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology 6:120
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons license

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