Autophagy is a eukaryotic catabolic pathway essential for growth and development. In plants, it is activated in response to environmental cues or developmental stimuli. However, in contrast to other eukaryotic systems, we know relatively little regarding the molecular players involved in autophagy and the regulation of this complex pathway. In the framework of the COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) action TRANSAUTOPHAGY (2016-2020), we decided to review our current knowledge of autophagy responses in higher plants, with emphasis on knowledge gaps. We also assess here the potential of translating the acquired knowledge to improve crop plant growth and development in a context of growing social and environmental challenges for agriculture in the near future.Research of the Avin-Wittenberg Group is supported by the Israeli Science Foundation, grant number 1899/16.The Testillano group is supported by project AGL2014-52028-R and AGL2017-82447-R funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF/FEDER). Autophagy research at the Galili lab is supported by The Israel Science Foundation (grant 612/16). Research in the Batoko laboratory was funded by the Wallonia-Brussels Federation Joint Research Action (ARC grant #11/16-036), the Belgian Funds for Scientific Research (FRS-FNRS)(CDR grant #19516174 and FRFC grant #6794930).Peer reviewe
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