Autophagy is an intracellular process responsible for the degradation and recycling of cytoplasmic components. It selectively removes harmful cellular material and enables the cell to survive starvation by mobilizing nutrients via the bulk degradation of cytoplasmic components. While research over the last decades has led to the discovery of the key factors involved in autophagy, the pathway is not yet completely understood. The first studies of autophagy on a molecular level were conducted in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Building up on these studies, many homologs have been found in higher eukaryotes. Yeast remains a highly relevant model organism for studying autophagy, with a wide range of established methods to elucidate the molecular details of the autophagy pathway. In this review, we provide an overview of methods to study both selective and bulk autophagy, including intermediate steps in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We compare different assays, discuss their advantages and limitations and list potential applications.
Keywords: Cvt pathway; M-Track; PAS; autophagic body; autophagosome; bulk autophagy; iPass; selective autophagy; yeast.