Autophagy is a highly regulated catabolic process that involves sequestration and lysosomal degradation of cytosolic components such as damaged organelles and misfolded proteins. While autophagy can be considered to be a general cellular housekeeping process, it has become clear that it may also play cell type-dependent functional roles. In this study by Catalina Gomez-Puerto, and in collaboration with UMC Groningen, the functional importance of autophagy in human hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) has been evaluated. Autophagy was found to be an important regulatory mechanism for human HSCs and their progeny, reducing cellular stress and promoting survival. This work has been accepted for publication in Stem Cells.