The 2016 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to Yoshinori Ohsumi “for his discoveries of mechanisms for autophagy.” The professor is currently at the Tokyo Institute of Technology.
Announcing the Prize in Stockholm, the Nobel Committee said in a statement that the cell biologist “discovered and elucidated mechanisms underlying autophagy, a fundamental process for degrading and recycling cellular components.”
The 1974 Medicine laureate, Christian de Duve, coined the term autophagy (meaning “self eating”) in 1963. “This concept emerged during the 1960s, when researchers first observed that the cell could destroy its own contents by enclosing it in membranes, forming sack-like vesicles that were transported to a recycling compartment, called the lysosome, for degradation,” said the statement.
The 2015 Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded for discoveries concerning novel therapies against river blindness, lymphatic filariasis and malaria to William C. Campbell, Satoshi Omura and Youyou Tu.