According to Nobelprize.org:
Autophagy, is a fundamental process for degrading and recycling cellular components.
The word autophagy originates from the Greek words auto-, meaning "self", and phagein, meaning "to eat". Thus, autophagy denotes "self eating".
This concept emerged during the 1960's, when researchers first observed that the cell could destroy its own contents by enclosing it in membranes, forming sack-like vesicles that were transported to a recycling compartment, called the lysosome, for degradation.
This year's (2016) Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine goes to Yoshinori Ohsumi, for his discoveries of mechanisms for autophagy.
Read more on: The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2016
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