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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 273473, 24 pages
Review Article

Autophagy in Drosophila: From Historical Studies to Current Knowledge

1School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK
2Department of Anatomy, Cell and Developmental Biology, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest H-1117, Hungary

Received 23 January 2014; Accepted 17 April 2014; Published 18 May 2014

Academic Editor: Rodney J. Devenish

Copyright © 2014 Nitha C. Mulakkal et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The discovery of evolutionarily conserved Atg genes required for autophagy in yeast truly revolutionized this research field and made it possible to carry out functional studies on model organisms. Insects including Drosophila are classical and still popular models to study autophagy, starting from the 1960s. This review aims to summarize past achievements and our current knowledge about the role and regulation of autophagy in Drosophila, with an outlook to yeast and mammals. The basic mechanisms of autophagy in fruit fly cells appear to be quite similar to other eukaryotes, and the role that this lysosomal self-degradation process plays in Drosophila models of various diseases already made it possible to recognize certain aspects of human pathologies. Future studies in this complete animal hold great promise for the better understanding of such processes and may also help finding new research avenues for the treatment of disorders with misregulated autophagy.