Autophagy in Mammalian Cells and Methods Used for its Analysis

Document Type : Abstract


Department of Biology, Graduate School of Natural and Applied Science, Ege University, Izmir, Turkey


Background and Aim: Autophagy, a highly intricate and critical cellular mechanism, assumes a pivotal role in the intricate dance of maintaining cellular homeostasis. Its functions span far beyond mere cellular survival, extending into the realms of cellular differentiation and development. At the core of this process lies the orchestration of cellular components' degradation within autophagosomes, ensuring a dynamic equilibrium essential for the cell's overall health. The term "autophagy" was first coined by Christian de Duve in 1963, laying the foundation for understanding this complex cellular phenomenon. The subsequent groundbreaking work of Dr. Yoshinori Ohsumi in 2016, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, brought unprecedented clarity to the molecular intricacies of autophagy (1, 2, 3).
As autophagy emerges as a linchpin at the intersection of fundamental cellular processes, this comprehensive review embarks on a journey to unearth its profound significance. Beyond mere survival, autophagy is a dynamic force that shapes cellular fate, influencing differentiation, development, and response to environmental cues. The overarching goal is to unravel the multifaceted roles that autophagy plays in cellular processes and to discern its profound implications in a spectrum of pathological conditions. This exploration encompasses scenarios of cellular nutrient deprivation, where autophagy becomes a survival strategy, as well as instances of infectious diseases, genetic disorders, neurodegenerative diseases, and cancer, where its dysregulation may contribute to disease progression (4, 5).
As we delve deeper into autophagy's intricate web, we aim to illuminate the intricate connections it forms with various diseases. From its role as a survival mechanism during nutrient scarcity to its potential involvement in the pathogenesis of genetic disorders and neurodegenerative diseases, autophagy emerges as a versatile player in cellular health. Moreover, its implications in cancer, where it may impact both tumor suppression and promotion, add layers of complexity to its narrative (6, 7).
As our understanding of autophagy deepens, so does the promise it holds for innovative interventions in various pathological contexts. By shedding light on the molecular intricacies of this cellular process, we pave the way for novel therapeutic strategies aimed at harnessing autophagy for promoting cellular health and mitigating its dysregulation in disease states.
Method: To unravel the complexities of autophagy, diverse methods are employed for a comprehensive understanding. Imaging techniques, including transmission electron microscopy, light microscopy, and fluorescence microscopy, enable the visualization of autophagy-related structures, providing crucial insights. Real-time PCR assesses autophagy-related gene expression, while methods such as Western blotting and ELISA determine the presence and amounts of critical proteins involved in autophagy. These multifaceted methods are essential for investigating the effects of autophagy in different tissues and exploring alterations in various disease groups.
Results: The utilization of various methods provides comprehensive insights into autophagy's mechanism and effects. Morphological analysis, gene expression detection, and protein analysis collectively contribute to a nuanced understanding of the intricate relationship between autophagy, normal cellular functions, and pathological conditions. These studies are pivotal for unraveling the complexities of autophagy and its implications in various diseases, including cardiomyopathy,
neurodegenerative diseases, infectious diseases, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.
Conclusion: In conclusion, the employment of diverse research methods, spanning morphological analysis, gene expression detection, and protein analysis, plays a crucial role in understanding the autophagy mechanism and investigating its effects. These studies contribute significantly to advancing our comprehension of the intricate relationship between autophagy, normal cellular functions, and pathological conditions. Moreover, these research endeavors hold immense potential for shaping the development of targeted treatments for numerous prevalent diseases in our modern era.


Main Subjects

Volume 2, Issue 2
Special Issue: Abstract and Papers from ICBMS23 (Turkey), ICBM23 (Hungary), ICCMM23 (Italy)
Pages 303-304
  • Receive Date: 19 December 2023
  • Accept Date: 19 December 2023