• Autophagy is a process whereby cells “eat themselves”.
  • It is a fundamental process in cell physiology dealing with how the body breaks down and recycles cellular components.
  • It is essential for the orderly recycling of damaged cell parts and its better understanding has major implications for health and disease, including cancer.
  • Term “autophagy”, which comes from the Greek meaning self-eating
Importance of autophagy
  • Autophagy is responsible for the gradual turnover of cytoplasmic organelles. 
  • Autophagy can rapidly provide fuel for energy and building blocks for renewal of cellular components.
  • It essential for the cellular response to starvation and other types of stress. After infection, autophagy can eliminate invading intracellular bacteria and viruses. 
  • Autophagy contributes to embryo development and cell differentiation. 
  • Cells also use autophagy to eliminate damaged proteins and organelles, a quality control mechanism that is critical for counteracting the negative consequences of aging.
  • Autophagy has major implications for health and disease and if disrupted, it can cause Parkinson’s and diabetes.
  • Disturbances in the autophagic machinery have also been linked to cancer. Efforts are on to develop drugs that can target autophagy in various diseases

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