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Autophagy and Autolysis


  • is a housekeeping process in which old organelles are degraded and recycled.

Intracellular membrane wraps around the organelle to be degraded

forms a double membrane structure called autophagosome

autophagosome merges with lysosome

Lysosomal hydrolases digest materials inside the autophagosome

released nutrients are reused by the cell.

  • Autophagy also supplies vital nutrients to cells when their supply from outside is scarce.


  • Damaged cells are removed by autolysis.

Trauma/heat/cold/chemical etc

damage to the cell

Lysosomes rupture

Hydrolase enzymes are released

1. If the damage is limited → only damaged structures are digested → cell is repaired.

2. If the damage is widespread and severe → entire cell is digested and removed → new cell is formed by mitosis of adjacent cell.


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