Yoshinori Ohsumi’s Nobel Prize for mechanisms of autophagy: from basic yeast biology to therapeutic potential

On 3 October 2016, Japanese cell biologist Yoshinori Ohsumi was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine ‘for his discoveries of mechanisms for autophagy’; autophagy being an intracellular degradation pathway that helps maintain cytoplasmic homeostasis. This commentary discusses Ohsumi’s Nobel prize-winning work in context, before explaining the clinical relevance of autophagy.