We are currently studying cell physiology. Organelles, membranes, endocytosis, cellular respiration - mostly information we covered in high school and college level biology. Last Wednesday, though, we were introduced to a new topic. After a clinical vignette on cholera (to get us ready for our Thanksgiving feasts, I'm sure), we covered the process of autophagy.
We learned that autophagy is the process by which worn out or dysfunctional proteins and organelles are delivered to and degraded by lysosomes. And this is cutting-edge information. In his deadpan Irish brogue, Dr. Thorburn told us that this was the first year autophagy had been taught as part of the med school curriculum at UC Denver, "so those of you who could have gone to school last year but decided to wait a year made a good choice. Look what you would have missed out on."
|The first picture of autophagy ever taken. Published in the Journal of Cell Biology in 1962|