(IMAGE) Goethe University Frankfurt Caption Typical targets for autophagy are harmful or superfluous proteins -- it degrades for example aggregated proteins, which can otherwise lead to severe damage and cell death, as observed in numerous neurodegenerative diseases. Even entire cell organelles and invading pathogens such as bacteria or viruses can be eliminated via this pathway. The building blocks generated through this degradation process are recycled, which is why autophagy also functions as a survival strategy in times of low energy supply. Credit David McEwan Usage Restrictions None License Licensed content Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.