Introduction to Autophagy
Autophagy is an important cellular catabolic process that plays a variety of important roles, including maintenance of the amino acid pool during starvation, recycling of damaged proteins and organelles, and clearance of intracellular microbes. First, the damaged proteins, organelles or foreign microbes are isolated by double membrane vesicles called autophagosomes. The vesicles then complete the enclosure of the damaged organelles and then fuses with lysosome. to form autolysosomes. Finally, the materials are degraded within the autolysosomes and the nutrients are recycled back to the cell. Currently employed autophagy detection methods include fluorescence microscopy, biochemical measurement and Western blotting, but they are time-consuming, labor-intensive, and require much experience for accurate interpretation.