Damaged and misfolded proteins accumulate during the aging process, impairing cell function and tissue homeostasis. These perturbations to protein homeostasis (proteostasis) are hallmarks of age-related neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's or Huntington's disease. Damaged proteins are degraded by cellular clearance mechanisms such as the proteasome, a key component of the proteostasis network. Proteasome activity declines during aging, and proteasomal dysfunction is associated with late-onset disorders. Modulation of proteasome activity extends lifespan and protects organisms from symptoms associated with proteostasis disorders. Here we review the links between proteasome activity, aging and neurodegeneration. Additionally, strategies to modulate proteasome activity and delay the onset of diseases associated to proteasomal dysfunction are discussed herein.
Keywords: Aging; Alzheimer’s disease; Huntington’s disease; Parkinson’s disease; Proteasome; Proteostasis; Stem cells..