Autophagy is an extremely old process during which long-lived proteins and cellular organelles are removed by means of lysosomes. Autophagy may be caused by cellular stress mechanisms. Research has proven that autophagy plays a key role in obtaining nutrients and adapting to the conditions of starvation. Owing to this, it takes part in maintaining homeostasis in cytoplasm and cell nucleus. This objective may be achieved through a number of ways. Depending on the manner in which a substrate connects with the lysosome, we can talk about macroautophagy and microautophagy. Additionally, some authors also distinguish a chaperone-mediated autophagy. The article presented below describes molecular mechanisms of each type of autophagy and focuses particularly on macroautophagy, which is the best understood of all the autophagy types.