Medical research

A new pathway for an anti-aging drug

In 1972, Easter Island, called Rapa Nui, famous for its moai statues, offered a new wonder: the discovery of the drug rapamycin.

Oncology & Cancer

Autophagy in dendritic cells helps anticancer activity

Autophagy contributes to the homeostasis of a cell and recently another function of autophagy has been reported. A KAIST research team found that the autophagy of dendritic cells supports T-cell anticancer activity.

Immunology

Salmonella could be combated by enhancing body's natural process

Autophagy – the process of recycling cellular material in the body, can help combat Salmonella and other pathogens according to researchers at the School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick who have studied how autophagy ...

Neuroscience

Memory like a sieve – or not

Humans are not only capable of forming memories but also recalling these memories years later. However, with advancing age many of us face difficulties with forming new memories, a process usually referred to as age-induced ...

Oncology & Cancer

Potential treatment strategy uncovered for pancreatic cancer

Scientists at the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center discovered a technique to make pancreatic cancer cells reliant on one energy source and then starve them of it—a finding that has led ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Cleaning up tuberculosis and salmonella infections

The cellular recycling system in zebrafish is capable of eating harmful bacteria and thus resist infections such as tuberculosis and salmonellosis. That is written by Leiden biologists from the group of Annemarie Meijer. ...

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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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