Crop Biotech Update

2016 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine Goes to Autophagy Researcher

October 5, 2016

This year's Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Yoshinori Ohsumi for his discoveries about the mechanisms of autophagy, which is a vital process in degrading and recycling components in cells. Ohsumi used baker's yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) to investigate which genes are vital for autophagy. Then he elucidated the underlying mechanisms involved in autophagy and showed that similar sophisticated machinery also works in human cells. Furthermore, his discoveries led to understanding the importance of autophagy in various physiological processes, including the adaptation to starvation or response to infection. He also showed how mutations in autophagy genes can bring about disease, and the autophagic process involved in many health conditions such as cancer and neurological diseases.

Read more about the Nobel Prize.