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(A) Diagram of autophagy; (B) Electron micrograph of autophagic structures in the fatbody of a fruit fly larva; (C) Fluorescently labeled autophagosomes in liver cells of starved mice

Autophagy (which means "eating itself"), is one of the basic cell mechanisms. It allows the controlled breaking down of cell parts which do not work, or are not needed.[1] The cell parts can then be recycled as required.[2][3]

There are several ways this happens. Targeted cell parts may be isolated from the rest of the cell in an autophagosome (a double-membraned vesicle).[4][5] The autophagosome fuses with lysosomes and the contents are broken down and recycled. In the extreme case of starvation, the breakdown of cellular components promotes cellular survival by maintaining cellular energy levels.

The name "autophagy" was coined by Belgian biochemist Christian de Duve in 1963.[1] The identification of autophagy-related genes in yeast in the 1990s let researchers figure out the mechanisms of autophagy.[6][7][8][9][10] This led to the award of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to Japanese researcher Yoshinori Ohsumi.[11]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Klionsky D.J. 2008. "Autophagy revisited: a conversation with Christian de Duve". Autophagy. 4 (6): 740–3. doi:10.4161/auto.6398. PMID 18567941.
  2. Mizushima N. & Komatsu M. 2011. "Autophagy: renovation of cells and tissues". Cell. 147 (4): 728–41. PMID 22078875.
  3. Kobayashi S 2015. "Choose delicately and reuse adequately: the newly revealed process of autophagy". Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin. 38 (8): 1098–103. doi:10.1248/bpb.b15-00096. PMID 26235572.
  4. Mizushima Noboru; Yoshimori, Tamotsu & Ohsumi, Yoshinori 2011. "The role of Atg proteins in autophagosome formation". Annual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology. 27 (1): 107–132. doi:10.1146/annurev-cellbio-092910-154005.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. Xie Z. & Klionsky D.J. 2007. "Autophagosome formation: core machinery and adaptations". Nature cell biology. 9 (10): 1102–9. PMID 17909521.
  6. Klionsky D.J; Cueva R. & Yaver D.S. 1992. "Aminopeptidase I of Saccharomyces cerevisiae is localized to the vacuole independent of the secretory pathway". The Journal of cell biology. 119 (2): 287–99. PMID 1400574.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  7. Takeshige K. et al 1992. "Autophagy in yeast demonstrated with proteinase-deficient mutants and conditions for its induction". The Journal of cell biology. 119 (2): 301–11. PMID 1400575.
  8. Thumm M. et al 1994. "Isolation of autophagocytosis mutants of Saccharomyces cerevisiae". FEBS letters. 349 (2): 275–80. PMID 8050581.
  9. Tsukada M. & Ohsumi Y. 1993. "Isolation and characterization of autophagy-defective mutants of Saccharomyces cerevisiae". FEBS letters. 333 (1–2): 169–74. PMID 8224160.
  10. Harding T.M. et al 1995. "Isolation and characterization of yeast mutants in the cytoplasm to vacuole protein targeting pathway". The Journal of cell biology. 131 (3): 591–602. PMID 7593182.
  11. "The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2016". The Nobel Foundation. 3 October 2016. Retrieved 3 October 2016.