Modulation of apoptosis sensitivity through the interplay with autophagic and proteasomal degradation pathways.

Autophagic and proteasomal degradation constitute the major cellular proteolysis pathways. Their physiological and pathophysiological adaptation and perturbation modulates the relative abundance of apoptosis-transducing proteins and thereby can positively or negatively adjust cell death susceptibility. In addition to balancing protein expression amounts, components of the autophagic and proteasomal degradation machineries directly interact with and co-regulate apoptosis signal transduction. The influence of autophagic and proteasomal activity on apoptosis susceptibility is now rapidly gaining more attention as a significant modulator of cell death signalling in the context of human health and disease. Here we present a concise and critical overview of the latest knowledge on the molecular interplay between apoptosis signalling, autophagy and proteasomal protein degradation. We highlight that these three pathways constitute an intricate signalling triangle that can govern and modulate cell fate decisions between death and survival. Owing to rapid research progress in recent years, it is now possible to provide detailed insight into the mechanisms of pathway crosstalk, common signalling nodes and the role of multi-functional proteins in co-regulating both protein degradation and cell death.