Daniel Klionsky

Our Research

The cells of higher organisms have an internal mechanism for chewing up and recycling parts of themselves, particularly in times of stress. This process of internal house-cleaning in the cell is called autophagy---literally self-eating---and it is now considered the second form of programmed cell death.

Autophagy, self-eating at the cellular level, is implicated in many aspects of human physiology and disease, including cancer, neurodegenerative conditions like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's and cardiomyopathy, an enlargement of the heart.

About Daniel Klionsky

  • Autophagy
  • Cell biology

Daniel Klionsky is investigating fundamental aspects of cellular physiology including protein targeting, organelle biogenesis and autophagy. He wants to know how the cell responds to stress conditions, including starvation and organelle damage, and to understand the basic mechanisms involved in membrane dynamics and protein-protein interactions that allow the cell to maintain viability.

Highlight: Artophagy

Dan Klionsky's research informed “How Autophagy Works,” a dancer’s guide to cell biology that is both spoof and serious interdisciplinary research. Dancers provide movement models for the museum’s rotunda in the form of animated video projections, danced episodes and psychodramas interpreting the ongoing cellular process of autophagy, the body’s method of cleansing, recycling and defending against disease.

Recent Publications

Kaiser S.E., Qiu Y., Coats J.E., Mao K., Klionsky D.J., Schulman B.A. (2013). Structures of Atg7-Atg3 and Atg7-Atg10 reveal noncanonical mechanisms of E2 recruitment by the autophagy E1. Autophagy 9(5):778-780.

Jin M., Liu X., Klionsky D.J. (2013). SnapShot: Selective autophagy. Cell 152.

Deffieu M., Bhatia-Kissova I., Salin B., Klionsky D.J., Pinson B., Manon S., Camougrand N. (2013). Increased levels of reduced cytochrome b and mitophagy components are required to trigger nonspecific autophagy following induced mitochondrial dysfunction. Journal of Cell Science 126(2):415-426.