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FEBS Lett. 2017 Mar;591(5):681-689. doi: 10.1002/1873-3468.12594. Epub 2017 Feb 28.

The exponential growth of autophagy-related research: from the humble yeast to the Nobel Prize.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, Japan.


Autophagy was discovered more than half a century ago. In the early days, autophagy was studied mostly through the use of biochemical methods and electron microscopy. In the 1990s, yeast genetics was introduced to this field and brought about an exponential expansion. The 2016 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was eventually awarded to the scientist who spearheaded the rapid development of the field: Yoshinori Ohsumi. Here, I describe in a Nutshell how the autophagy machinery was discovered and how the autophagy research field has grown following the breakthroughs from yeast studies.


Nobel Prize; autophagy

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