Natural Products as Modulators of the Proteostasis Machinery: Implications in Neurodegenerative Diseases

Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Sep 20;20(19):4666. doi: 10.3390/ijms20194666.


Proteins play crucial and diverse roles within the cell. To exert their biological function they must fold to acquire an appropriate three-dimensional conformation. Once their function is fulfilled, they need to be properly degraded to hamper any possible damage. Protein homeostasis or proteostasis comprises a complex interconnected network that regulates different steps of the protein quality control, from synthesis and folding, to degradation. Due to the primary role of proteins in cellular function, the integrity of this network is critical to assure functionality and health across lifespan. Proteostasis failure has been reported in the context of aging and neurodegeneration, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. Therefore, targeting the proteostasis elements emerges as a promising neuroprotective therapeutic approach to prevent or ameliorate the progression of these disorders. A variety of natural products are known to be neuroprotective by protein homeostasis interaction. In this review, we will focus on the current knowledge regarding the use of natural products as modulators of different components of the proteostasis machinery within the framework of age-associated neurodegenerative diseases.

Keywords: autophagy; chaperones; natural compounds; neurodegeneration; proteostasis; ubiquitin-proteasome; unfolded protein response.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease* / drug therapy
  • Alzheimer Disease* / metabolism
  • Alzheimer Disease* / pathology
  • Animals
  • Biological Products / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Parkinson Disease* / drug therapy
  • Parkinson Disease* / metabolism
  • Parkinson Disease* / pathology
  • Proteostasis / drug effects*


  • Biological Products
  • Neuroprotective Agents