Macroautophagy is a process in which cellular contents are degraded by lysosomes or vacuoles and recycled. Double-membraned structures called autophagosomes enclose cellular material and then fuse with lysosomes. Non-selective macroautophagy is stimulated by starvation. Organelle-specific macroautophagy processes such as mitophagy, pexophagy and ribophagy remove damaged organelles.

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News and Comment

  • News and Views |

    Selective autophagy is essential for maintaining cellular homeostasis under different growth conditions. Huntingtin, mutated versions of which have been implicated in Huntington disease, is now shown to act as a scaffold protein that couples the induction of autophagy and the selective recruitment of cargo into autophagosomes.

    • Amir Gelman
    • , Moran Rawet-Slobodkin
    •  & Zvulun Elazar
    Nature Cell Biology 17, 214–215
  • News and Views |

    Using in vitro reconstitution systems, three studies shed light on the interactions of Atg8 family proteins with cargo receptors and components of the basal autophagy machinery. The results have important mechanistic implications for selective macroautophagy, scaffold formation and spatio-temporal organization of the lipidation process during autophagosome formation.

    • Terje Johansen
    •  & Trond Lamark
    Nature Cell Biology 16, 395–397
  • News and Views |

    Polyglutamine expansion in the androgen receptor, causing X-linked spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy, impairs its function as a transcriptional coactivator regulating an extensive network of proteins involved in protein clearance.

    • X William Yang
    •  & Ai Yamamoto
    Nature Neuroscience 17, 1140–1142
  • News and Views |

    Defects in mitochondria are implicated in Parkinson's disease. Study of a quality-control pathway involving the proteins PINK1 and Parkin provides further clues about the mechanism involved.

    • Asa Abeliovich
    Nature 463, 744–745