Autophagy is the process by which damaged proteins and organelles are degraded and recycled to maintain cell homeostasis. It is critical to cellular health and failure of the autophagic process causes accumulation of cellular damage.

Autophagy can play either pro-survival or pro-death roles and is therefore recognized for its therapeutic potential to control the process and therefore treat diseases such as cancer, inflammation, neurodegenerative, and autoimmune diseases. Autophagy and apoptosis control the turnover of organelles and proteins within cells, and of cells within organisms, respectively, and many stress pathways sequentially elicit autophagy and apoptosis within the same cell. Generally, autophagy blocks the induction of apoptosis, and apoptosis-associated caspase activation shuts off the autophagic process. However, in special cases, autophagy or autophagy-relevant proteins may help to induce apoptosis or necrosis, and autophagy has been shown to degrade the cytoplasm excessively, leading to 'autophagic cell death'. The dialogue between autophagy and cell death pathways influences the normal clearance of dying cells, as well as immune recognition of dead cell antigens. Therefore, the disruption of the relationship between autophagy and apoptosis has important pathophysiological consequences.

ProSci offers many antibodies against proteins involved in autophagy and apoptosis to help researchers uncover new information about these cellular processes and the role they play in both pathophysiological and physiological processes.

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