Human genetic studies have implicated the regulation of autophagy (the process by which cells break themselves down) in inflammation, neurodegeneration, infection, and autoimmunity. This has led scientists to search for small-molecules that might enhance autophagy in order to shed light on its role in disease. In the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Broad researchers described one such effort: the team screened nearly 60,000 small molecules and found one, BRD5631, that affects several cellular disease phenotypes linked to autophagy. The researchers believe that studying the molecule’s mechanism of action may reveal therapeutically beneficial ways to modulate autophagy in the context of disease.
The work was supported by the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.