Xenophagy is the process of Autophagy by which cytosolic or vacuole-dwelling pathogens are degraded. These pathogens are recognised non-specifically by their lipopolysaccharide or peptidoglycan outer layers and are resultantly engulphed into autophagosomes (double-membraned organelles). This autophagosome migrates to and fuses with a lysosome, releasing its contents into the lysosome where they are then hydrolysed by degradative enzymes.
Xenophagy plays a key role in innate immunity - pathogens can be recognised by general pathogenic characteristics and destroyed before they cause infection in cells, thus an immune response is not required.
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