IIBB researchers have participated in the 4th edition of an international consensus on the interpretation, mechanisms and various multidisciplinary aspects of autophagy. Autophagy is a catabolic pathway that contributes to the renewal of cellular machinery through the elimination of various cellular components, including proteins with defects in their conformation to organelles such as lipid bodies. By replacing damaged structures, autophagy contributes to the quality control of essential cellular compartments such as mitochondria in a process called mitophagy, in which non-functional mitochondria are degraded.
Given the essential role of autophagy in the regulation of multiple cellular functions, its alteration, either by defect or excess, can play a key role in neurodegenerative processes, metabolic diseases, immune response or cancer development. Autophagy is a multifunctional process involving several cellular structures, of which lysosomes play an essential role: their fusion with autophagosomes loaded with cellular debris are digested inside them by hydrolytic enzymes.
Since its recognition in the 1960s by Christian DeDuve, who coined the term "autophagy" from the Greek (autos and phagein), the interest in autophagy has grown dramatically and exponentially in recent years, culminating in 2016 when Yoshinori Ohsumi was awarded the Nobel Prize for the identification in yeast of genes responsible for the regulation of autophagy.
Four IIBB researchers participated in this review published in Autophagy, three of them (Carmen García-Ruiz, Ana Belén Moles and JC Fernández-Checa) belonging to the Mitochondrial Regulation of Cell Death research group led by Professor Fernández-Checa and Anna Colell (researcher of the Signalling in Cell Damage and Cancer group) have collaborated in the elaboration of the international standards on autophagy due to their contributions on the influence of cholesterol on mitophagy and therefore on the quality control of mitochondria, and its impact on metabolic, neurodegenerative and hepatotoxicity diseases.
Guidelines for the use and interpretation of assays for monitoring autophagy (4th edition). Daniel J. Klionsky, Amal Kamal Abdel-Aziz, Sara Abdelfatah, Mahmoud Abdellatif, Asghar Abdoli, Steffen Abel, et al. Autophagy 2021. doi.org/10.1080/15548627.2020.1797280