The Science: Autophagy

What is autophagy?

Autophagy is a naturally occurring degradation process in cells.

Over time certain cellular components become dysfunctional and cause disease. Autophagy monitors these components and if activated will degrade them in a highly selective manner.

Autophagy is unique from other degradative processes because it can eliminate cellular components as small as single proteins or as large and complex as mitochondria, protein aggregates, and pathogens.

How does it work?

Distinguish, Deliver, Degrade

Autophagy machinery distinguishes between dysfunctional and healthy cellular components and initiates biogenesis of an autophagosome around the dysfunctional components.

The autophagosome delivers the dysfunctional components to the lysosome, which contains digestive enzymes capable of degrading the entire autophagosome and the damaged components. By-products of degradation can be recycled back into the cell.

The opportunity

Many disease targets are beyond the limit for degradation by the ubiquitin-proteasome system. Genomic Nantijen Diagnostics has developed Nanosome as a solution to degrade these targets and to bring forward new medicines for patients in need.