Here’s a photo of the scientist attendees at the EMBO 2013 autophagy meeting in Norway on the cruise ship MS Trollfjord.
There were many autophagy luminaries there, including a number of rumored candidates for Nobel prizes.
Reader Arash raised the interesting question whether the intermittent dietary protein restriction used in protein breaks could cause excessive autophagy. This is important because too much autophagy can kill cells in certain settings, like oxygen deprivation in the brain (cerebral ischemia).
Excess autophagy apparently does not occur with intermittent protein restriction, because autophagy is self-limiting in this circumstance. Restricting dietary protein, which is made of amino acids, deactivates mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1), leading to protein degradation in cells by autophagy, which frees up amino acids, leading to reactivation of mTORC1 and consequent inhibition of autophagy again.
[I]ncreased intracellular free amino acids produced during autophagic degradation can reactivate the mTORC1 signaling and thus downregulate autophagy, serving as a self-limiting feedback loop in autophagy regulation. …