DOI: 10.1016/j.jsb.2012.03.003 The AAA-ATPase p97 (also called VCP for Valosin-containing protein) is essential for a number of cellular processes as diverse as ER-associated degradation, DNA damage response, and cell cycle control. Mechanistically, p97 cooperates with its cofactor Ufd1-Npl4 in these processes to segregate polyubiquitinated misfolded or regulatory client proteins from intracellular structures for subsequent degradation by the proteasome. Recent work now connects p97, independently of Ufd1-Npl4, to endosomal trafficking and autophagy. Interestingly, these pathways also deliver proteins for degradation, albeit by the lysosome. While monoubiquitination and alternative p97-cofactors, including UBXD1, have been associated with these activities, the underlying molecular mechanism(s) are still unclear or controversial. In this review, we aim to summarize the available data and discuss mechanistic models.