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Annu Rev Nutr. 2007;27:19-40.

Protein turnover via autophagy: implications for metabolism.

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Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Tokyo 113-8519, Japan.


Autophagy is a process of cellular "self-eating" in which portions of cytoplasm are sequestered within double-membrane cytosolic vesicles termed autophagosomes. The autophagosome cargo is delivered to the lysosome, broken down, and the resulting amino acids recycled after release back into the cytosol. Autophagy occurs in all eukaryotes and can be up-regulated in response to various nutrient limitations. Under these conditions, autophagy may become essential for viability. In addition, autophagy plays a role in certain diseases, acting to prevent some types of neurodegeneration and cancer, and in the elimination of invading pathogens. We review the current information on the mechanism of autophagy, with a focus on its role in protein metabolism and intracellular homeostasis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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