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Autophagy, a conserved cellular process by which cells recycle their contents either to maintain basal homeostasis or in response to external stimuli, has for the past two decades become one of the most studied physiological processes in cell biology. The 2016 Nobel Prize in Medicine and Biology to Dr. Ohsumi Yoshinori, one of the first scientists to characterize this cellular mechanism, attests to its importance. The induction and consequent completion of the process of autophagy results in wide ranging changes to the cellular proteome as well as the secretome. Mass spectrometry‐based proteomics affords the ability to measure, in an unbiased manner, the ubiquitous changes that occur when autophagy is initiated and progresses in the cell. The continuous improvements and advances in mass spectrometers, especially relating to ionization sources and detectors, coupled with advances in proteomics experimental design, has made it possible to study autophagy, among other process, in great detail. Innovative labeling strategies and protein separation techniques as well as complementary methods including immuno‐capture/blotting/staining have been used in proteomics studies to provide more specific protein identification. In this review, we will discuss recent advances in proteomics studies focused on autophagy.
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