Microtubule-associated protein light chain 3, commonly known as LC3, is a central protein in the autophagy pathway and functions in autophagosome biogenesis. LC3 is a member of the ATG8 protein family and expressed as three isoforms: LC3A (MAP1LC3A), LC3B (MAP1LC3B), and LC3C (MAP1LC3C). Newly synthesized LC3 is hydrolyzed by the cysteine protease ATG4B to produce the active cytosolic form termed LC3I. Through a series of reactions involving other ATGs, LC3I becomes attached to phosphatidylethanolamine. This lipid modified form is termed LC3II, and is involved in autophagosomes membrane expansion and fusion events. LC3 is widely used as a marker for autophasomes. Defects in autophagy machinery have been associated with multiples diseases including neurodegenerative disorders.
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