G. Juhász Department of Nuclear Chemistry, Eötvös Loránd University Pázmány P. s. 1/A, 1117, Budapest, Hungary

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GY. Csikós Department of General Zoology, Eötvös Loránd University, Please ask the editor of the journal.

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M. Sass Department of General Zoology, Eötvös Loránd University, Please ask the editor of the journal.

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The process of autophagy, or bulk degradation of cellular proteins and organelles through an autophagosomic-lysosomal pathway constantly functions in all eukary- otic cells. Also a type of physiological cell death exists, which is best characterized with the strenghtening of the autophagic process, but no DNA degradation or caspase activation can be detected, in contrast to apoptosis [2]. Autophagy can be promoted in various ways: addiction of certain drugs (like vin- blastine [6]), hormones (like 20-hidroxy-ecdysone [3]) or simply nutrition d&epriva- tion [5] leads to the increased amount of proteins degraded by lysosomal enzymes. The isolation and cloning of yeast autophagy mutants gives an excellent opportu- nity to examine their putative homologs in Drosophila melanogaster. Fourteen genes have been identified in Saccharomyces cerevisiae required for autophagy [5], based on several mutant phenotypes, &like the sorting problems of vacuolar enzymes such as carboxypeptidase Y or aminopeptidase I, or the less of viability and the inability of degrading cytosolic proteins like fatty acid synthase during starvation. Nine of them (apg5, apg6, apg7, apg12, aut1, aut2, aut7, aut9, vps4) appear to have clear homologs in the fly and human genome, using the BLAST tools at http://work-, and (BLASTN, TBLASTN services) for sequence similarity searches. The sequence alignment of the yeast, fly and human proteins can be seen in Figure 1. The high degree of similarity suggests existing homology among these genes, although new and lost functions were identified in some cases [7]. Remarkably, vps4 exists in two slightly different copies in human, and aut7 exists in multiple different copies as well (two in Drosophila and three in Homo), suggesting different roles, or at least different regulation. As expected, fly and human genes are much more simi- lar to each other than to the yeast homolog, promising that Drosophila experiments will better contribute to the understanding of the roles of these genes in detail in high- er eukaryotes. The precise function of these genes is still unclear, however, molecu-

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Editorial Board

    1. Csányi, Vilmos (Göd)
    1. Dudits, Dénes (Szeged)
    1. Falus, András (Budapest)
    1. Fischer, Ernő (Pécs)
    1. Gábriel, Róbert (Pécs)
    1. Gulya, Károly (Szeged)
    1. Gulyás, Balázs (Stockholm)
    1. Hajós, Ferenc (Budapest)
    1. Hámori, József (Budapest)
    1. Heszky, László (Gödöllő)
    1. Hideg, Éva (Szeged)
    1. E. Ito (Sanuki)
    1. Janda, Tibor (Martonvásár)
    1. Kavanaugh, Michael P. (Missoula)
    1. Kása, Péter (Szeged)
    1. Klein, Éva (Stockholm)
    1. Kovács, János (Budapest)
    1. Brigitte Mauch-Mani (Neuchâtel)
    1. Nässel, Dick R. (Stockholm)
    1. Nemcsók, János (Szeged)
    1. Péczely, Péter (Gödöllő)
    1. Roberts, D. F. (Newcastle-upon-Tyne)
    1. Sakharov, Dimitri A. (Moscow)
    1. Singh, Meharvan (Fort Worth)
    1. Sipiczky, Mátyás (Debrecen)
    1. Szeberényi, József (Pécs)
    1. Székely, György (Debrecen)
    1. Tari, Irma (Szeged)
    1. Vágvölgyi, Csaba (Szeged),
    1. L. Zaborszky (Newark)


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Acta Biologica Hungarica
Language English
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Founder Magyar Tudományos Akadémia
H-1051 Budapest, Hungary, Széchenyi István tér 9.
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Chief Executive Officer, Akadémiai Kiadó
ISSN 0236-5383 (Print)
ISSN 1588-256X (Online)