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Science. 2010 Dec 3;330(6009):1344-8. doi: 10.1126/science.1193497.

Autophagy and metabolism.

Author information

  • 1Department of Chemistry and Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, 241 Carl Icahn Laboratory, Washington Road, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA. joshr@genomics.princeton.edu

Abstract

Autophagy is a process of self-cannibalization. Cells capture their own cytoplasm and organelles and consume them in lysosomes. The resulting breakdown products are inputs to cellular metabolism, through which they are used to generate energy and to build new proteins and membranes. Autophagy preserves the health of cells and tissues by replacing outdated and damaged cellular components with fresh ones. In starvation, it provides an internal source of nutrients for energy generation and, thus, survival. A powerful promoter of metabolic homeostasis at both the cellular and whole-animal level, autophagy prevents degenerative diseases. It does have a downside, however--cancer cells exploit it to survive in nutrient-poor tumors.

PMID:
21127245
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3010857
Free PMC Article
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