Autophagy is a process of bulk protein degradation through an autophagosomic-lysosomal pathway. Autophagy can be divided into multiple subtypes: macroautophagy and microautophagy, specific and non-specific autophagy, as well as pexophagy, mitophagy and chaperone-mediated autophagy. Autophagy is important for differentiation, survival during nutrient deprivation and normal growth control. Links to cancer, hypoxia, and neurodegeneration have brought autophagy to the forefront of scientific studies in recent years. It now appears that autophagy’s ubiquitous role in cellular maintenance may mean that it plays some role in almost all diseases.
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