, Volume 15, Issue 11, pp 1292-1311

Ubiquitin/proteasome pathway impairment in neurodegeneration: therapeutic implications

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The ubiquitin/proteasome pathway is the major proteolytic quality control system in cells. In this review we discuss the impact of a deregulation of this pathway on neuronal function and its causal relationship to the intracellular deposition of ubiquitin protein conjugates in pathological inclusion bodies in all the major chronic neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases as well as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. We describe the intricate nature of the ubiquitin/proteasome pathway and discuss the paradox of protein aggregation, i.e. its potential toxic/protective effect in neurodegeneration. The relations between some of the dysfunctional components of the pathway and neurodegeneration are presented. We highlight possible ubiquitin/proteasome pathway-targeting therapeutic approaches, such as activating the proteasome, enhancing ubiquitination and promoting SUMOylation that might be important to slow/treat the progression of neurodegeneration. Finally, a model time line is presented for neurodegeneration starting at the initial injurious events up to protein aggregation and cell death, with potential time points for therapeutic intervention.