Autophagy is a regular and substantial “clear-out process” that occurs within the cell and that gets rid of debris that accumulates in membrane-enclosed vacuoles by using enzyme-rich lysosomes, which are filled with acids that degrade the contents of the vacuoles. This machinery is well-connected with many prevalent diseases, including cancer, HIV, and Parkinson’s disease. Considering that autophagy is well-known for its significant connections with a number of well-known fatal diseases, a thorough knowledge of the current findings in the field is essential in developing therapies to control the progression rate of diseases. Thus, this review summarizes the critical events comprising autophagy in the cellular system and the significance of its key molecules in manifesting this pathway in various diseases for down- or upregulation. We collectively reviewed the role of autophagy in various diseases, mainly neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, inflammatory diseases, and renal disorders. Here, some collective reports on autophagy showed that this process might serve as a dual performer: either protector or contributor to certain diseases. The aim of this review is to help researchers to understand the role of autophagy-regulating genes encoding functional open reading frames (ORFs) and its connection with diseases, which will eventually drive better understanding of both the progression and suppression of different diseases at various stages. This review also focuses on certain novel therapeutic strategies which have been published in the recent years based on targeting autophagy key proteins and its interconnecting signaling cascades.
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