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Autophagy is a cellular process which allows orderly degradation and recycling of dysfunctional cellular elements. In 1963 Belgian biochemist Christian de Duve coined the term autophagy, which is obtained from Greek word autóphagos means self-devouring. Based on the discovery of autophagy-related genes in yeast in the 1990s, Japanese researcher Yoshinori Ohsumi has developed mechanisms of autophagy which enable him to win 2016 Nobel Prize in medicine in 2016. By rapidly providing fuel to building blocks of cells autophagy can renew cellular components and stem starvation and other types of stress. Autophagy can ward off invading intracellular viruses and bacteria during infection.

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