Related topics: protein

Discovery of a mechanism for efficient autophagosome formation

Drs. Nobuo Noda (Director) and Tatsuro Maruyama (Researcher) et al. at the Institute of Microbial Chemistry (BIKAKEN, Tokyo, Japan) discovered that lipidated Atg8, the most famous factor that mediates autophagy, has membrane ...

At the crossroads of cell survival and death

National University of Singapore researchers discovered that a protein, known as MOAP-1, plays a crucial role in facilitating autophagy, a cellular "self-eating" process that recycles non-essential components during starvation.

How cells 'eat' their own fluid components

Autophagy is a fundamental cellular process by which cells capture and degrade their own dysfunctional or superfluous components for degradation and recycling. Recent research has revealed that phase separated droplets have ...

Giving cells an appetite for viruses

A team led by UT Southwestern researchers has identified a key gene necessary for cells to consume and destroy viruses. The findings, reported online today in Nature, could lead to ways to manipulate this process to improve ...

Revealing the identity of the last unknown protein of autophagy

Dr. Nobuo Noda and Dr. Kazuaki Matoba at the Institute of Microbial Chemistry discovered that Atg9, one of the proteins that function to mediate autophagy, has phospholipid-translocation activity (the lipid scramblase activity) ...

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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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