Chemical and biological approaches synergize to ameliorate protein-folding diseases

Cell. 2008 Sep 5;134(5):769-81. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2008.06.037.


Loss-of-function diseases are often caused by a mutation in a protein traversing the secretory pathway that compromises the normal balance between protein folding, trafficking, and degradation. We demonstrate that the innate cellular protein homeostasis, or proteostasis, capacity can be enhanced to fold mutated enzymes that would otherwise misfold and be degraded, using small molecule proteostasis regulators. Two proteostasis regulators are reported that alter the composition of the proteostasis network in the endoplasmic reticulum through the unfolded protein response, increasing the mutant folded protein concentration that can engage the trafficking machinery, restoring function to two nonhomologous mutant enzymes associated with distinct lysosomal storage diseases. Coapplication of a pharmacologic chaperone and a proteostasis regulator exhibits synergy because of the former's ability to further increase the concentration of trafficking-competent mutant folded enzymes. It may be possible to ameliorate loss-of-function diseases by using proteostasis regulators alone or in combination with a pharmacologic chaperone.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Gaucher Disease / drug therapy
  • Gaucher Disease / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Leupeptins / pharmacology
  • Lysosomal Storage Diseases / drug therapy
  • Lysosomal Storage Diseases / metabolism*
  • Molecular Chaperones / pharmacology
  • Protein Folding*
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • Tay-Sachs Disease / drug therapy
  • Tay-Sachs Disease / metabolism
  • Triterpenes / pharmacology


  • Leupeptins
  • Molecular Chaperones
  • Proteins
  • Triterpenes
  • celastrol
  • benzyloxycarbonylleucyl-leucyl-leucine aldehyde