Related topics: protein

Plants overcome hunger with the aid of autophagy

Researchers at Tohoku University have found that plants activate autophagy in their leaf cells to derive amino acids that are used for survival under energy-starved conditions. The findings show that amino acid utilization ...

Cellular recycling caught in the act

A team of researchers at the Center for Self-assembly and Complexity, within the Institute for Basic Science (IBS) have observed a normal physiological process, called "self-eating", that cells use to recycle their components. ...

How did we evolve to live longer?

Research shows a collection of small adaptations in stress activated proteins, accumulated over millennia of human history, could help to explain our increased natural defences and longer lifespan.

Researchers identify defense mechanism of malaria parasite

Portuguese researchers at Instituto de Medicina Molecular (iMM) Lisboa have identified a defense mechanism by which the Plasmodium parasite can survive inside its host's liver cells, a crucial stage in which it acquires the ...

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Autophagy

In cell biology, autophagy, or autophagocytosis, is a catabolic process involving the degradation of a cell's own components through the lysosomal machinery. It is a tightly regulated process that plays a normal part in cell growth, development, and homeostasis, helping to maintain a balance between the synthesis, degradation, and subsequent recycling of cellular products. It is a major mechanism by which a starving cell reallocates nutrients from unnecessary processes to more-essential processes.

A variety of autophagic processes exist, all having in common the degradation of intracellular components via the lysosome. The most well-known mechanism of autophagy involves the formation of a membrane around a targeted region of the cell, separating the contents from the rest of the cytoplasm. The resultant vesicle then fuses with a lysosome and subsequently degrades the contents.

It was first described in the 1960s, but many questions about the actual processes and mechanisms involved still remain to be elucidated. Its role in disease is not well categorized; it may help to prevent or halt the progression of some diseases such as some types of neurodegeneration and cancer, and play a protective role against infection by intracellular pathogens; however, in some situations, it may actually contribute to the development of a disease.

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