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Autophagy is an essential cellular process involving degradation of superfluous or defective macromolecules and organelles as a form of homeostatic recycling. Initially proposed to be a "bulk" degradation pathway, a more nuanced appreciation of selective autophagy pathways has developed in the literature in recent years. As a glycogen-selective autophagy process, "glycophagy" is emerging as a key metabolic route of transport and delivery of glycolytic fuel substrate. Study of glycophagy is at an early stage. Enhanced understanding of this major noncanonical pathway of glycogen flux will provide important opportunities for new insights into cellular energy metabolism. In addition, glycogen metabolic mishandling is centrally involved in the pathophysiology of several metabolic diseases in a wide range of tissues, including the liver, skeletal muscle, cardiac muscle, and brain. Thus, advances in this exciting new field are of broad multidisciplinary interest relevant to many cell types and metabolic states. Here, we review the current evidence of glycophagy involvement in homeostatic cellular metabolic processes and of molecular mediators participating in glycophagy flux. We integrate information from a variety of settings including cell lines, primary cell culture systems, ex vivo tissue preparations, genetic disease models, and clinical glycogen disease states.

Original publication




Journal article


J Biol Chem

Publication Date





Atg8, Gabarapl1, Stbd1, autophagy, glycogen, glycophagy, lysosome, Autophagy, Glycogen, Glycogenolysis, Macroautophagy