Autophagy in cells

Introduction

Cellular homeostasis and cell survival depends on damage mitigating pathways that respond rapidly to external or intracellular stress.

One of these pathways is autophagy, or self-eating, an evolutionarily conserved membrane-mediated pathway that targets cytoplasmic components for degradation in the lysosome.

While used by cells as a survival response during acute stress situations, such as amino acid starvation, autophagy is also involved in many human diseases including cancer and neurodegeneration, and is also required for development, immunity and infection.

Our group is focused on understanding biogenesis of the autophagosome membrane, in particular the molecules involved in the signalling and regulation of protein and lipid trafficking required for the formation and maturation of the autophagosome.

As the role of autophagy in physiological and pathophysiological conditions is not yet well understood, a better understanding of the molecular pathway will provide information to both increase our knowledge and help guide clinical research.