Autophagy is the process by which cellular components are directed to and degraded in the vacuole or lysosome and has been studied largely in yeasts. We present here an in silico genomic analysis of trypanosomatid autophagy aimed at highlighting similarities and differences with autophagy in other organisms. Less than half of the yeast autophagy-related proteins examined have certain putative orthologues in trypanosomatids. A cytosol-to-vacuole transport system is clearly lacking in these organisms. Other absences are even more unexpected and have implications for our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of autophagy. The results are consistent with taxon-specific addition of components to a core autophagy machinery during evolution.
© 2005 The Biochemical Society