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’
    • ‘"Autophagy is a survival mechanism to ensure that the cell is able to obtain the necessary nutrients during times of starvation," explains Schmitz.’
    • ‘We aim to recruit a post-doctoral scientist to work on a research programme on autophagy and neurodegeneration using in vivo approaches in mice.’
    • ‘"We know that autophagy and neurodegeneration are connected, so pinpointing this protein is important to our understanding of the disease process."’
    • ‘In many infections, autophagy also helps digest pathogens and clear them away.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 1.1 Destruction of damaged or redundant cellular components occurring in vacuoles within the 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.’
      • ‘Autophagy of entire chloroplasts during leaf senescence would cause a continuous decrease in the number of plastids per mesophyll cell.’


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