PIK3C3/Vps34 is the class III PtdIns3K that is evolutionarily conserved from yeast to mammals. Its central role in mammalian autophagy has been suggested through the use of pharmacological inhibitors and the study of its binding partners. However, the precise role of PIK3C3 in mammals is not clear. Using mouse strains that allow tissue-specific deletion of PIK3C3, we have described an essential role of PIK3C3 in regulating autophagy, and liver and heart function. © 2012 Landes Bioscience.