Autophagy, an evolutionarily conserved pathway, is required for homeostasis, growth and survival in eukaryotic cells. Deregulation of autophagy is implicated in many human diseases, and mutations in autophagy genes are known to be a direct cause of severe human disorders. There are global efforts to understand the role of autophagy in disease pathogenesis and to develop therapeutic strategies to control the autophagic response. However, the latter is hampered by the lack of biomarkers, and disease-specific, selective autophagy targets. Overcoming this barrier in development of therapeutics will require a better understanding of basic autophagy biology. This meeting will specifically address the basic molecular pathway to increase our knowledge of the genes, proteins and signaling pathways involved in autophagy. The program will assemble experts in the molecular details of the diverse autophagic pathways and therefore provide clinicians and pharmaceutical companies with information to develop new, specific targets.
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