Heat shock proteins: Keys to healthy ageing?

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Redox Report, 2009, 14 (4), pp. 147 - 153
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Organisms produce reactive species throughout their lives, and this may result in damage to proteins and other biological molecules. Oxidatively damaged proteins are normally selectively degraded and replaced, but this process appears to be less efficient in senescent, long-lived, postmitotic cells, as is evidenced by their accumulation in the form of lipofuscin inside the lysosomal compartment. A great deal of research has focused on changes to the proteolytic machinery in the ageing cell, in particular the proteasome, although failure of heat shock proteins (HSPs) to bind and deliver oxidised proteins efficiently to the degradation machinery could also contribute to their aggregation and accumulation. Oxidised proteins can be protease-resistant and may even directly inhibit the proteolytic machinery of the cell. The critical role that is played by HSPs in preventing accumulation of oxidised proteins is often overlooked. In this review, we examine the key role played by HSPs in recognising, removing and preventing the formation of oxidised and damaged proteins in cells. We also examine the evidence supporting the view that failure of one of these pathways could underlie ageing and age-related diseases. Finally, we discuss how modulation of HSP-activity could influence the ageing process and the progression of age-related diseases. © 2009 W. S. Maney and Son Ltd.
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