Protein Misfolding and Human Disease

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  • Research Unit for Molecular Medicine
Protein misfolding is a common event in living cells. In young and healthy cells, the misfolded protein load is disposed of by protein quality control (PQC) systems. In aging cells and in cells from certain individuals with genetic diseases, the load may overwhelm the PQC capacity, resulting in accumulation of misfolded proteins. Dependent on the properties of the protein and the efficiency of the PQC systems, the accumulated protein may be degraded or assembled into toxic oligomers and aggregates. To illustrate this concept, we discuss a number of very different protein misfolding diseases including phenylketonuria, Parkinson's disease, α-1-antitrypsin deficiency, familial neurohypophyseal diabetes insipidus, and short-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency. Despite the differences, an emerging paradigm suggests that the cellular effects of protein misfolding provide a common framework that may contribute to the elucidation of the cell pathology and guide intervention and treatment strategies of many genetic and age-dependent diseases.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAnnual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics
Volume7
Pages (from-to)103-124
Number of pages22
ISSN1527-8204
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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