Molecular mechanisms of selective autophagy during the course of ageing

Lead Research Organisation: University of Warwick
Department Name: School of Life Sciences


Advances in modern medicine have led to a significant increase in human life expectancy. A consequence of this has been the increase of the frequency of ageing-related diseases. Recent studies have indicated that a breakdown of the proteolytic cellular machinery of autophagy in cells, is involved in the development of ageing-related diseases. Autophagy is an essential catabolic process that involves the degradation of cytoplasmic material through the lysosomal pathway. Cells use autophagy to generate materials and energy when conditions become unfavourable. They also use this process to clear damaged cellular components. We will use the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a genetically modifiable model organism to investigate the mechanisms of selective autophagy during ageing in vivo. These mechanisms are very similar between fruit flies and humans, so the results will have direct relevance to human health.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M01116X/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2023
1897959 Studentship BB/M01116X/1 02/10/2017 30/09/2021 Ashrafur Rahman
Description Autphagy is a process of cellular self degradation where materials in the cell can be recycled and reused. We now know that this recycling method can happen in a very selective manner which has physiological consequences. My work has used quantitative proteomics and a novel drosophila model to identify a panel of proteins that may be selectively degraded through this pathway. The next step is to look at these proteins in more detail and work out the function of the proteins and consequence of their degradation.
Exploitation Route There are a large number of proteins identified which could potentially be selectively degraded. Many of these proteins are well known and have connections to existing diseases. The work done could lead to a better understanding of the mechanism of such diseases and potentially provide new targets for treatments.
Sectors Healthcare,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology