Table of Contents
ISRN Molecular Biology
Volume 2012, Article ID 738718, 12 pages
Review Article

Autophagy: New Questions from Recent Answers

Department of Cell Biology and Institute of Biomembranes, University Medical Centre Utrecht, Heidelberglaan 100, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Received 12 November 2012; Accepted 27 November 2012

Academic Editors: T. Hellwig-Bürgel, A. J. Molenaar, and A. Montecucco

Copyright © 2012 Fulvio Reggiori. 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.


Macroautophagy (hereafter autophagy) is currently one of the areas of medical life sciences attracting a great interest because of its pathological implications and therapy potentials. The discovery of the autophagy-related genes (ATGs) has been the key event in this research field because their study has led to the acquisition of new knowledge about the mechanism of this transport pathway. In addition, the investigation of these genes in numerous model systems has revealed the central role that autophagy plays in maintaining the cell homeostasis. This process carries out numerous physiological functions, some of which were unpredicted and thus surprising. Here, we will review some of the questions about the mechanism and function of autophagy that still remain unanswered, and new ones that have emerged from the recent discoveries.