Review Article | Published:

Autophagy fights disease through cellular self-digestion

Nature volume 451, pages 10691075 (28 February 2008) | Download Citation

Abstract

Autophagy, or cellular self-digestion, is a cellular pathway involved in protein and organelle degradation, with an astonishing number of connections to human disease and physiology. For example, autophagic dysfunction is associated with cancer, neurodegeneration, microbial infection and ageing. Paradoxically, although autophagy is primarily a protective process for the cell, it can also play a role in cell death. Understanding autophagy may ultimately allow scientists and clinicians to harness this process for the purpose of improving human health.

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Acknowledgements

This work was funded in part by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NCI, NIA, NIAID, NIGMS) the American Cancer Society, the Ellison Medical Foundation, Grants-in-Aid Scientific Research from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan, and the Toray Science Foundation.

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Affiliations

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

    • Noboru Mizushima
  2. Departments of Internal Medicine and Microbiology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas 75390, USA

    • Beth Levine
  3. Departments of Anatomy and Structural Biology and of Developmental and Molecular Biology, Marion Bessin Liver Research Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York 10461, USA

    • Ana Maria Cuervo
  4. Life Sciences Institute and Departments of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology and Biological Chemistry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 48109, USA

    • Daniel J. Klionsky

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Daniel J. Klionsky.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nature06639

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