Introduction: Autophagy is one of the most conserved clearance systems through which eukaryotes manage to handle dysfunctional and excess organelles and macromolecules. This catabolic process has not only a role in the maintenance of basal turnover of cellular components, but it is also essential in cells adaptation to stress conditions. In the last decades, defects in autophagic machinery have been identified as a feature in neurodegenerative diseases. In this context, mass spectrometry-based proteomics has become an important tool in the comprehensive analysis of proteins involved in the autophagic flux.Area covered: In this review, we discuss recent contributions of proteomic techniques in the study of defective autophagy related to neurodegenerative illness. Particular emphasis is given to the identification of i) shared autophagic markers between different disorders, which support common pathological mechanisms; ii) unique autophagic signature, which could aid to discriminate among diseases.Expert opinion: Proteomic approaches are valuable in the identification of alterations of components to the autophagic process at different steps of the process. The investigation of autophagic defects associated with neurological disorders is crucial in order to unravel all the potential mechanism leading to neurodegeneration and propose effective therapeutic strategies targeting autophagy.
Keywords: Autophagy; proteomics; neurodegenerative diseases.