Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, Volume 76, Issue 19, pp 3711–3722 | Cite as

Protein methylation functions as the posttranslational modification switch to regulate autophagy

  • Rui Li
  • Xiang Wei
  • Ding-Sheng JiangEmail author


Studies over the past decades have elucidated the critical role of autophagy in human health and diseases. Although the processes of autophagy in the cytoplasm have been well studied, the posttranscriptional and epigenetic regulation mechanisms of autophagy are still poorly understood. Protein methylation, including histone methylation and non-histone protein methylation, is the most important type of posttranscriptional and epigenetic modification. Recent studies have shown that protein methylation is associated with effects on autophagosome formation, autophagy-related protein expression, and signaling pathway activation, but the details are still unclear. Thus, it is important to summarize the current status and discuss the future directions of research on protein methylation in the context of autophagy.


Autophagy Protein methylation Non-histone protein methylation Histone methylation Methyltransferase Demethylase Posttranslational modification Autophagy-related proteins 



This work was supported by Grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (nos. 81600188, 81670050), Tongji Hospital Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars (no. 2016YQ02), and Integrated Innovative Team for Major Human Diseases Program of Tongji Medical College, HUST.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interest.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical CollegeHuazhong University of Science and TechnologyWuhanChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Organ TransplantationMinistry of EducationWuhanChina
  3. 3.NHC Key Laboratory of Organ TransplantationMinistry of HealthWuhanChina
  4. 4.Key Laboratory of Organ TransplantationChinese Academy of Medical SciencesWuhanChina

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