The secretory and autophagy pathways can be thought of as the biosynthetic (i.e., anabolic) and degradative (i.e., catabolic) branches of the endomembrane system. In analogy to anabolic and catabolic pathways in metabolism, there is mounting evidence that the secretory and autophagy pathways are intimately linked and that certain regulatory elements are shared between them. Here we highlight the parallels and points of intersection between these two evolutionarily highly conserved and fundamental endomembrane systems. The intersection of these pathways may play an important role in remodeling membranes during cellular stress.
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