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Special Issue "The Link between Autophagy, Axonal Function, and Metabolic Impact in Neurodegenerative Diseases"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Neurobiology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Esther Dalfó
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Medicine, University of Vic-Central University of Catalonia (UVic-UCC), 08500 Vic, Spain
Interests: neurodegeneration; C elegans; lipid droplets; cell death; Cell Biology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues, 

Axonal degeneration or axonopathy is a neurotoxic disorder in which the primary site of toxicity is the axon. Axonopathies involve alterations in the cytoskeleton and defects in axonal transport and represent a common starting point for neuronal pathological alterations across a very wide range of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. However, the molecular pathways that regulate this process are unknown.

Neurons have highly specialized structures for intercellular communication. In particular, axons transfer proteins and organelles over considerable distances throughout the nervous system. Furthermore, the constant quality of proteins and mitochondria is critical for correct neuronal function. Consequently, axonal transport is necessary to maintain neuronal homeostasis, which particularly depends on efficient degradation pathways such as the autophagy mechanism. As such, the precise investigation of autophagy in the soma, axons, or synapses would represent a beneficial therapeutic intervention to combat neurodegenerative diseases. Importantly, the pathological contribution of an over-activation of autophagy should also be monitored very carefully.

Lipids and lipid-metabolizing enzymes control fundamental aspects of the autophagy process, and lipids themselves have also been identified as autophagy substrates. In the process referred to as macrolipophagy, cellular fat such as triacylglycerides (TAG) is directly consumed (or broken down into fatty acids) in the form of lipid droplets (LDs) by autophagolysosomes for the purpose of energy homeostasis. In addition, cholesterol has been implicated in the organization of microdomains within lysosomal membranes that control the efficacy of chaperone-mediated autophagy as well as autophagosome–lysosome fusion.

LDs are cytoplasmic organelles that store neutral lipids for membrane synthesis and energy. In addition to energy storage, LDs play other important functions, including sequestration of toxic proteins, protection from lipotoxicity, and provision of precursors for membrane biosynthesis, hormones, and lipoproteins. Notably, neurodegenerative diseases share lipid dysregulation as a metabolic feature in disease pathology.Hence, the knowledge of the convergent molecular mechanisms between axonal maintenance, autophagy, and lipid droplets is critical to combat neurodegenerative diseases. This Special Issue will collect papers focused on understanding the mechanisms relating autophagy to axonal damage in axonopathies in the context of lipid metabolism.

Dr. Esther Dalfó
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. There is an Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal. For details about the APC please see here. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Axonopathy
  • Autophagy
  • Lipid metabolism
  • Lipid droplets
  • Neurodegeneration

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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