The process of autophagy was first recognized in the late 1950s and it was thought of as bulk “junk” removal. Then, dedicated scientists did a little more digging and found there is an amazing methodology to the “junk” removal. It was discovered that there is rhyme and reason for how a cell decides if and when its components should undergo degradation. Autophagy is rather specific and aids in cell survival by making sure the cell has essential components during times of flux. Autophagy can be selective (i.e. mitophagy) or non-selective (i.e. starvation-induced). Using this method, the cell can have non-essential components recycled or send them to onto autophagolysosomes to be degraded. It is more efficient for a cell to be able to recycle as much as it can, rather than to wait for new proteins to come into the picture. Autophagy is also crucial for clearing out “junk” such as misfolded or aggregated proteins. Research in autophagy has helped provide a better understanding for how a cell is able to survive even under poor conditions.
What is mitophagy? It is when damaged mitochondria are removed from the cell by autophagy. The damaged mitochondria end up in lysosomes for their final disposal. This whole process is to maintain and assure proper cellular function. The importance of this biological process is that it has been implicated in disease states such as cancer and Parkinson’s disease.
What does Autophagy Flux even mean? It’s not in the Urban dictionary. Dear reader, you have come to the right place to learn a little more about autophagy flux and how our Autophagy Watch kit can help you.