Drosophila as a robust model system for assessing autophagy: a review
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Autophagy is the process through which a body breaks down and recycles its own cellular components, primarily inside lysosomes. It is a cellular response to starvation and stress, which plays decisive roles in various biological processes such as senescence, apoptosis, carcinoma, and immune response. Autophagy, which was first discovered as a survival mechanism during starvation in yeast, is now known to serve a wide range of functions in more advanced organisms. It plays a vital role in how cells respond to stress, starvation, and infection. While research on yeast has led to the identification of many key components of the autophagy process, more research into autophagy in more complex systems is still warranted. This review article focuses on the use of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a robust testing model in further research on autophagy. Drosophila provides an ideal environment for exploring autophagy in a living organism during its development. Additionally, Drosophila is a well-suited compact tool for genetic analysis in that it serves as an intermediate between yeast and mammals because evolution conserved the molecular machinery required for autophagy in this species. Experimental tractability of host–pathogen interactions in Drosophila also affords great convenience in modeling human diseases on analogous structures and tissues.