Definition of autophagy in English:



mass nounBiology
  • 1Consumption of the body’s own tissue as a metabolic process occurring in starvation and certain diseases.

    ‘the process of starvation-induced autophagy was recently the focus of extensive research’
    • ‘We aim to recruit a post-doctoral scientist to work on a research programme on autophagy and neurodegeneration using in vivo approaches in mice.’
    • ‘"Autophagy is a survival mechanism to ensure that the cell is able to obtain the necessary nutrients during times of starvation," explains Schmitz.’
    • ‘While many scientists are trying to prevent the onset of a cancer defense mechanism known as autophagy, other researchers are leveraging it in a new therapy.’
    • ‘In many infections, autophagy also helps digest pathogens and clear them away.’
    • ‘"We know that autophagy and neurodegeneration are connected, so pinpointing this protein is important to our understanding of the disease process."’
    1. 1.1 Destruction of damaged or redundant cellular components occurring in vacuoles within the cell.
      • ‘Autophagy of entire chloroplasts during leaf senescence would cause a continuous decrease in the number of plastids per mesophyll cell.’
      • ‘A primary pathway for the uptake of mitochondrial sequences by the nucleus may be provided by autophagy of mitochondria in cellular vacuoles (lysosomes).’
      • ‘Moussa, who has long sought a way to force neurons to clean up their garbage, came up with the idea of using cancer drugs that push autophagy in tumors to help diseased brains.’
      • ‘It controls a number of metabolic processes important for cell growth, including nutrient import, transcription, and autophagy.’
      • ‘One of these proteins, which participate both in autophagy and cytoplasm-to-vacuole transport, is the Atg8 protein.’


Mid 19th century: from auto- + -phagy.