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Front Biosci (Schol Ed). 2012 Jun 1;4:1354-63.

Autophagy: mechanism and physiological relevance 'brewed' from yeast studies.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Monash University, Clayton campus, Victoria 3800, Australia.


Autophagy is a highly conserved process of quality control occurring inside cells by which cytoplasmic material can be degraded and the products recycled for use as new building blocks or for energy production. The rapid progress and 'explosion' of knowledge concerning autophagic processes in mammals/humans that has occurred over the last 15 years was driven by fundamental studies in yeast, principally using Saccharomyces cerevisiae, leading to the identification and cloning of genes required for autophagy. This chapter reviews the role of yeast studies in understanding the molecular mechanisms of autophagic processes, focusing on aspects that are conserved in mammals/humans and how autophagy is increasingly implicated in the pathogenesis of disease and is required for development and differentiation.

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