Macroautophagy is a multistep, vacuolar, degradation pathway terminating in the lysosomal compartment, and it is of fundamental importance in tissue homeostasis. In this review, we consider macroautophagy in the light of recent advances in our understanding of the formation of autophagosomes, which are double-membrane-bound vacuoles that sequester cytoplasmic cargos and deliver them to lysosomes. In most cases, this final step is preceded by a maturation step during which autophagosomes interact with the endocytic pathway. The discovery of AuTophaGy-related genes has greatly increased our knowledge about the mechanism responsible for autophagosome formation, and there has also been progress in the understanding of molecular aspects of autophagosome maturation. Finally, the regulation of autophagy is now better understood because of the discovery that the activity of Atg complexes is targeted by protein kinases, and owing to the importance of nuclear regulation via transcription factors in regulating the expression of autophagy genes.