On 3rd October 2016, a Japanese scientist Professor Yoshinori Ohsumi, Ph.D has been awarded Nobel Prize for Medicine for his study in mechanism of autophagy.
Autophagy, the word itself means self-eating. It is an essential conserved lysosomal degradation pathway that controls the quality of the cytoplasm by eliminating protein aggregates and damaged organelles. It begins when double membraned autophagosomes engulf portions of the cytoplasm, which is followed by fusion of these vesicles with lysosomes and degradation of the autophagic contents.
In simple words, It is the process that cells use to destroy and recycle cellular components.
A recycling program – junk cell components are stored and the useful parts comes out to generate the energy or build new cells.
By the acknowledgement of this mechanism of autophagy, many gates will open for the approaches of treating diseases by further research works.
1. Cancerous cell growths can be prevented, that is the major life threatening disease of developed nations, as the survival rate is very low and unreasonable most of the times.
2. Fight against infections of pathogenic microorganisms, will be great as most of the biology underpinning infectious diseases can be controlled.
3. Maintenance of a healthy metabolism, It allows cells to degrade large molecules into basic building blocks, which are used as energy sources.
4. Neurodegenerative illnesses, Dementia (caused by tau), Parkinson’s disease (alpha-synuclein), Huntington’s disease (mutant huntingtin) and other age- related disorders.
5. Diabetes Mellitus Type 2, an endocrine disease due to genetical or sedentary lifestyle getting more common in our India will be prevented by autophagy.
6. Development of Drugs, Intense research is underway to develop drugs that can target autophagy to treat various other diseases.
7. Regenerate Protein Inside Body: Because of this machinery now we’re able to rely on some of our own proteins, maybe the damaged proteins or the long-lived proteins, and they are recycled with this sophisticated machinery so that we can sustain and we survive.