Life is stressful. Organisms are repeatedly exposed to stressors that disrupt protein homeostasis (proteostasis), resulting in protein misfolding and aggregation. To sense and respond to proteotoxic perturbations, cells have evolved compartment-specific stress responses, such as the unfolded protein response of the endoplasmic reticulum (UPRER). However, UPRER function is impaired with age, which, we propose, creates a permissive environment for protein aggregation, unresolved ER stress, and chronic inflammation. Understanding age-related changes to the UPRER will provide new avenues for therapeutic intervention in metabolic disease, neurodegeneration, and aging.
Keywords: ER stress; NF-kappaB; XBP1; aging; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; chronic inflammation; endoplasmic reticulum; metabolic disease; protein aggregation; unfolded protein response.
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