Understanding Autophagy

Date: February 14, 2017

cellular lysosome infection

Year 2016 witnessed a new insight of cellular processes in terms of autophagy, as Sir Yoshinori Ohsumi received nobel prize for hi discoveries regarding mechanisms of autophagy.

This article will explain autophagy in simpler terms to be understood by a civil service preprant. 

Autophagy (auto=self; phagy=to eat), is a fundamental process of degrading and recycling cellular components. To work out this, eat cell possess sack like vesicles, called as lysosomes, which actually engulf the cellular components, sort them out, send them for renewal or destroy them.  This egarding and recycling process is fundamental to all cells. In fact, Belgian scientist Christian de Duve was awarded the Nobel Prize in same category as Ohsumi in 1974 for the discovery of the lysosome. He observed that lysosome engulfs large cellular components which he referred to as autophagosome.


Via this process of autophagy, cell is provided with instant energy and a fresh supplies of nutrients and building blocks required to cope with starvation, stress or other non-favorable condition.  After infection, autophagy can eliminate invading intracellular bacteria and viruses. Autophagy contributes to embryo development and cell differentiation. Cells also use autophagy to eliminate damaged proteins and organelles, a quality control mechanism that is critical for counteracting the negative consequences of aging.