Protein degradation and aging

Exp Gerontol. Aug-Sep 2005;40(8-9):622-33. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2005.07.005.


Continuous turnover of intracellular proteins is essential for the maintenance of cellular homeostasis and for the regulation of multiple cellular functions. The first reports showing a decrease in total rates of protein degradation with age are dated more than 50 years ago, when the major players in protein degradation where still to be discovered. The current advances in the molecular characterization of the two main intracellular proteolytic systems, the lysosomal and the ubiquitin proteasome system, offer now the possibility of a systematic search for the defect(s) that lead to the declined activity of these systems in old organisms. We discuss here, in light of the current findings, how malfunctioning of these two proteolytic systems can contribute to different aspects of the phenotype of aging and to the pathogenesis of some age-related diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Autophagy
  • Cellular Senescence / physiology
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Lysosomes / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / metabolism
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • Ubiquitin / metabolism


  • Proteins
  • Ubiquitin