We live in at a time when there is increasing preoccupation with health and longevity. And yet, as humans live longer, with increasing lifespan comes increased risk for dementia, neurodegeneration and other age-associated degenerative diseases. While Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease are associated with profound neurological decline, a common feature of disease and aging is the accumulation of damaged proteins that can accumulate in aggregates and amyloid species. The appearance of this “molecular clutter” is the direct result of failure of the quality control machinery that leads to the accumulation of these damaged proteins, which over time interferes with cellular function.
In my talk, I will examine how the cellular quality control machinery responds to misfolded and aggregated proteins, the effects of aging of this process, and whether it is possible to reset the cellular machinery to restore or prevent molecular damage.