Degrader technologies, which enable the chemical knockdown of disease-causing proteins, are promising for drug discovery. After two decades of research, degraders using the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) are currently in clinical trials. However, the UPS substrates are mainly limited to soluble proteins. Autophagy-targeting chimeras and autophagosome-tethering compounds are degraders that use autophagy, which has functions complementary to the UPS. They can degrade organelles and aggregate-prone proteins, making them promising treatments against age-related conditions such as mitochondrial dysfunction and neurodegenerative diseases. The molecular mechanism of selective autophagy is an ongoing research topic, which explains why autophagy-based degraders were not available until recently. In this review, we introduce four classifications of selective autophagy mechanisms to facilitate the understanding of the degrader design.
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