ARTICLE | Targets & Mechanisms

Building up degradation

September 30, 2010 7:00 AM UTC

A trio of papers makes a case for purging neurotoxic misfolded proteins from neurons by stimulating two protein degradation processes: autophagy and proteasome-based proteolysis.1-3The findings could apply to neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease, in which accumulation of misfolded intracellular proteins is a common feature.

Autophagy involves the engulfment of cytoplasm into membrane-bound compartments called autophagosomes, which deposit their cargo into acidic, protein-dissolving lysosomes. Proteasome-based proteolysis results inselective degradation of proteins marked by the covalent addition of ubiquitin. Both processes are part of the normal cellular protein-recycling machinery...