Under normal circumstance cells in our body maintain a high integrity of cell health. Our body has a natural process called Autophagy to eliminate damaged / mutated cells.
Cells Under Stress
Cells use autophagy to digest damaged or defective molecules, effectively eliminating the stressors like mis-folded proteins and damaged organelles that can threaten cell health, or in the case of hypoxia and serum starvation, devour existing proteins and organelles to generate key nutrients for survival. One process of autophagy involves the formation of a membrane around the damaged molecules, sequestering it from the rest of the cytosol with subsequent fusion with lysosomes. Autophagy is also thought to play a role in apoptosis or programmed cell death.
How Autophagy Works.
When it comes to managing stress, our cells function like efficient machines, quickly assessing the situation and finding ways to adjust. Autophagy—literally, “eating oneself”—is one way that cells deal with typical day-to-day stress (misfolded proteins, aged or defective organelles) as well as unexpected disasters (hypoxic conditions, serum starvation, viral infections). The cellular machinery either digests the damaged or defective molecules, effectively eliminating the stressors that threaten cell health, or, in the case of hypoxia and serum starvation, devours existing proteins and organelles to generate key nutrients for survival.