Protein misfolding and proteostasis decline is a common feature of many neurodegenerative diseases. However, modeling the complexity of proteostasis and the global cellular consequences of its disruption is a challenge, particularly in live neurons. Although conventional approaches, based on population measures and single "snapshots", can identify cellular changes during neurodegeneration, they fail to determine if these cellular events drive cell death or act as adaptive responses. Alternatively, a "systems" cell biology approach known as longitudinal survival analysis enables single neurons to be followed over the course of neurodegeneration. By capturing the dynamics of misfolded proteins and the multiple cellular events that occur along the way, the relationship of these events to each other and their importance and role during cell death can be determined. Quantitative models of proteostasis dysfunction may yield unique insight and novel therapeutic strategies for neurodegenerative disease.
Copyright © 2013 Federation of European Biochemical Societies. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.