Autophagy and Mammalian Viruses: Roles in Immune Response, Viral Replication, and Beyond

P. Paul, C. Münz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Autophagy is an important cellular catabolic process conserved from yeast to man. Double-membrane vesicles deliver their cargo to the lysosome for degradation. Hence, autophagy is one of the key mechanisms mammalian cells deploy to rid themselves of intracellular pathogens including viruses. However, autophagy serves many more functions during viral infection. First, it regulates the immune response through selective degradation of immune components, thus preventing possibly harmful overactivation and inflammation. Additionally, it delivers virus-derived antigens to antigen-loading compartments for presentation to T lymphocytes. Second, it might take an active part in the viral life cycle by, eg, facilitating its release from cells. Lastly, in the constant arms race between host and virus, autophagy is often hijacked by viruses and manipulated to their own advantage. In this review, we will highlight key steps during viral infection in which autophagy plays a role. We have selected some exemplary viruses and will describe the molecular mechanisms behind their intricate relationship with the autophagic machinery, a result of host-pathogen coevolution.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Virus Research, 2016
EditorsMargaret Kielian, Thomas C. Mettenleiter, Karl Maramorosch
PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
Number of pages47
ISBN (Print)9780128048207
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameAdvances in Virus Research
ISSN (Print)0065-3527
ISSN (Electronic)1557-8399


  • Antigen presentation
  • Antiviral immunity
  • Herpesviruses
  • IL-1
  • Influenza virus
  • LC3-associated phagocytosis
  • Unconventional autophagy
  • Viral evasion
  • Xenophagy


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