Renovating the house – how cells stay in good shape

Everyone owning a house knows it: to stay like new it needs cleaning and mending. Similarly cells constantly renovate and get rid of unwanted material in a process called autophagy in order to replace it with new parts. This ensures that the organism stays healthy over the years. Like a house renovation, different contractors are employed with repairs and getting rid of waste, and perfect communication is required between them. An international team of scientists from Berlin and Berkeley led by Sascha Martens from the Max Perutz Labs, a joint venture University of Vienna and the Medical University of Vienna now describe how this communication between two important factors takes place and thus ensures that autophagy correctly works in the cell.