Kind of like cleaning house.Autophagy (or autophagocytosis) is the basic catabolic mechanism that involves cell degradation of unnecessary or dysfunctional cellular components through the lysosomal machinery (from the Greek words, auto "self" and phagein "to eat"). The breakdown of cellular components can ensure cellular survival during starvation by maintaining cellular energy levels. Autophagy, if regulated, ensures the synthesis, degradation and recycling of cellular components. During this process, targeted cytoplasmic constituents are isolated from the rest of the cell within the autophagosomes, which are then fused with lysosomes and degraded or recycled. There are three different forms of autophagy that are commonly described, which include macroautophagy, microautophagy and chaperon-mediated autophagy. In the context of disease, autophagy has been seen as an adaptive response to survival, whereas in other cases it appears to promote cell death and morbidity.