Autophagy: process and function.

Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Tokyo 113-8519, Japan.
Genes & Development (Impact Factor: 12.64). 12/2007; 21(22):2861-73. DOI: 10.1101/gad.1599207
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Autophagy is an intracellular degradation system that delivers cytoplasmic constituents to the lysosome. Despite its simplicity, recent progress has demonstrated that autophagy plays a wide variety of physiological and pathophysiological roles, which are sometimes complex. Autophagy consists of several sequential steps--sequestration, transport to lysosomes, degradation, and utilization of degradation products--and each step may exert different function. In this review, the process of autophagy is summarized, and the role of autophagy is discussed in a process-based manner.

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