What is Autophagy?
Autophagy is a biological process present in all eukaryotic systems in which endogenous proteins, damaged organelles and other non-functioning cellular components are degraded by cellular “self-digestion”. This contributes to cellular homeostasis by maintaining a balance between the manufacture of cellular components and the breakdown of damaged or unnecessary organelles. It is a process that can contribute to cellular repair mechanisms, or if the damage in the cell is unrepairable, ultimately, cell death.
Autophagy is regulated by mTOR1 kinase activity, which is inhibited upon induction of the autophagy process. This subsequently initiates autophagosome formation, a process that requires LC3 protein. Mature autophagosomes then fuse with a lysosome, which contains the degradation components, and these are destroyed.
Autophagy is a non-apoptotic programmed cell death with different pathways and mediators from apoptosis. It allows for the controlled degradation and recycling of cellular components. There are three commonly described forms of autophagy including macroautophagy, microautophagy and chaperone-mediated autophagy.
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