Autophagy: process and function

Genes Dev. 2007 Nov 15;21(22):2861-73. doi: 10.1101/gad.1599207.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autophagy*
  • Endosomes / metabolism
  • Fungal Proteins / metabolism
  • Intracellular Membranes / metabolism
  • Lysosomes / metabolism
  • Membrane Fusion
  • Models, Biological
  • Phagosomes / metabolism
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Transport
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins*


  • Fungal Proteins
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins