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Autophagy. 2013 March 1; 9(3): 267.
PMCID: PMC3590247

Finding autophagy

It’s a question of how you look at it


To tell the truth, I find it difficult to work when flying, or even when sitting in an airport for an extended period of time. So, typically I take along a book to read. And when I truly cannot concentrate, for example when a flight is considerably delayed, I have even been known to resort to word puzzles. Depending on the type, they do not require much attention (that is, you can pick up right where you left off after you glance at the flight status screen for the twentieth or so time, even though you know nothing has changed), or effort (although you need to use a pen or pencil, not a keyboard), but nonetheless they can keep your mind somewhat occupied. I even rationalize doing them based on the assumption that they are sharpening my observational/pattern-finding skills. One type of word puzzle that is particularly mindless, but for that very reason I still enjoy in the above circumstances, is a word search; you are given a grid with letters and/or numbers, and a list of “hidden” terms, and you circle them within the grid, crossing them off the list as you go along. I do admit that the categories of terms used in the typical word searches can become rather mundane (breeds of dog, types of food, words that are followed by “stone,” words associated with a famous movie star, words from a particular television show, etc.). Therefore, on one of my last seminar trips I decided to generate my own word search, using the category of autophagy.

Keywords: autophagy, lysosome, stress, vacuole, word search

In doing word searches I tend to start without looking at the list of words to make it at least a little more challenging. Thus, I decided not to provide a list for this word search—see how many names of genes/proteins you can find that are associated with autophagy (each gene/protein has been published as having a connection with autophagy) (Fig. 1). I will give you some hints: “ATG” followed by a number is used more than once, all of the genes/proteins—except for LC3, where we allow this abbreviation—follow the official nomenclature guidelines (, there is more than one type of autophagy, and the organisms from which these names are derived are not limited to yeast and human. Remember that each letter or number can be used more than once, and names can go in any direction (forwards, backwards, up, down, diagonally or some combination of these), but are always in a straight line. Also, “Ø” is the letter O, not the number zero. I have started off the search by circling LC3, as an example. So, have fun, and let me know how many names you find (but do not bother until you have more than 50, at the very least).

figure auto-9-267-g1
Figure 1. Autophagy word search.


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