All cells count on precise mechanisms that regulate protein homeostasis to maintain a stable and functional proteome. A progressive deterioration in the ability of cells to preserve the stability of their proteome occurs with age and contributes to the functional loss characteristic of old organisms. Molecular chaperones and the proteolytic systems are responsible for this cellular quality control by assuring continuous renewal of intracellular proteins. When protein damage occurs, such as during cellular stress, the coordinated action of these cellular surveillance systems allows detection and repair of the damaged structures or, in many instances, leads to the complete elimination of the altered proteins from inside cells. Dysfunction of the quality control mechanisms and intracellular accumulation of abnormal proteins in the form of protein inclusions and aggregates occur in almost all tissues of an aged organism. Preservation or enhancement of the activity of these surveillance systems until late in life improves their resistance to stress and is sufficient to slow down aging. In this work, we review recent advances on our understanding of the contribution of chaperones and proteolytic systems to the maintenance of cellular homeostasis, the cellular response to stress and ultimately to longevity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology