Medical research

Taking out the trash is essential for brain health

A little mess never killed anyone, right? Wrong. Researchers at Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU) have recently shown that a build-up of cellular 'trash' in the brain can actually cause neurodegeneration, and even ...

Neuroscience

Surprising insights into the role of autophagy in neuron

It appears that autophagy protects neurons in the brain, but for different reasons than previously assumed, as researchers from the Leibniz-Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pharmakologie (FMP) and Charité in Berlin have ...

Medical research

New pathway to attack tumor cells identified

A study led by the Institut de Neurociències (INc-UAB) describes a new strategy to tackle cancer, based on inducing a potent stress in tumor causing cell destruction by autophagy. The mechanism has been revealed using the ...

Oncology & Cancer

Autophagy genes act as tumor suppressors in ovarian cancer

Shedding light on a decades-old controversy, scientists at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and University of California at San Diego (UCSD) published findings in PLOS Genetics this month showing that autophagy ...

Oncology & Cancer

Immune cell health discovery could optimise cancer therapies

Scientists at UCL have discovered how immune cells, essential for tackling life-threatening infections and cancers, are able to 'recycle' material within themselves in order to stay healthy and function, a breakthrough finding ...

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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.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA