Eukaryotic cells have the capacity to degrade intracellular components through a lysosomal degradation pathway called macroautophagy (henceforth referred to as autophagy) in which superfluous or damaged cytosolic entities are engulfed and separated from the rest of the cell constituents into double membraned vesicles known as autophagosomes. Autophagosomes then fuse with endosomes and lysosomes, where cargo is broken down into basic building blocks that are released to the cytoplasm for the cell to reuse. Autophagic degradation can target either cytoplasmic material in bulk (non-selective autophagy) or particular cargo in what is called selective autophagy. Proper autophagic turnover requires the orchestrated participation of several players that need to be tightly and temporally coordinated. Whereas a large number of autophagy-related (ATG) proteins have been identified and their functions and regulation are starting to be understood, there is substantially less knowledge regarding the specific lipids constituting the autophagic membranes as well as their role in initiating, enabling or regulating the autophagic process. This review focuses on lipids and their corresponding binding proteins that are crucial in the process of selective autophagy.
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