Cytoplasmic vacuolization in cell death and survival

Andrey V. Shubin _, Ilya V. Demidyuk, Alexey A. Komissarov, Lola M. Rafieva and Sergey V. Kostrov

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:55863-55889. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.10150

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Andrey V. Shubin1,2,3,*, Ilya V. Demidyuk1,*, Alexey A. Komissarov1, Lola M. Rafieva1 and Sergey V. Kostrov1

1 Laboratory of Protein Engineering, Institute of Molecular Genetics, Moscow, Russia

2 Laboratory of Chemical Carcinogenesis, N.N. Blokhin Russian Cancer Research Center, Moscow, Russia

3 Laboratory of Biologically Active Nanostructures, N.F. Gamaleya Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, Moscow, Russia

* These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Andrey V. Shubin, email:

Keywords: regulated cell death, vacuolization, microbial toxins, viruses

Received: February 27, 2016 Accepted: June 06, 2016 Published: June 17, 2016


Cytoplasmic vacuolization (also called cytoplasmic vacuolation) is a well-known morphological phenomenon observed in mammalian cells after exposure to bacterial or viral pathogens as well as to various natural and artificial low-molecular-weight compounds. Vacuolization often accompanies cell death; however, its role in cell death processes remains unclear. This can be attributed to studying vacuolization at the level of morphology for many years. At the same time, new data on the molecular mechanisms of the vacuole formation and structure have become available. In addition, numerous examples of the association between vacuolization and previously unknown cell death types have been reported. Here, we review these data to make a deeper insight into the role of cytoplasmic vacuolization in cell death and survival.

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