Autophagy is a major degradative pathway(s) by which intracellular components are delivered into the lysosomes. It is largely implicated in determining cell death and survival, because it eliminates un-necessary, damaged, and/or potentially harmful cellular products and organelles, and is an important source for nutrients and energy production under conditions of external nutrient deficiency. As such, autophagy has been suggested to contribute to the regulation of carbohydrate and protein metabolism during fasting. Recently, three papers implicated a role for autophagy in cellular lipid metabolism as well. This perspective article presents these novel findings in the context of prior studies on the role of autophagy and lysosomes in metabolic and energy regulation, discusses their points of agreement and opposing propositions, and outlines key outstanding questions.
- metabolic regulation
- lipid metabolism
- Copyright © 2009, American Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism