A healthy physiological environment of cells represents the dynamic homeostasis of crowded molecules. A subset of cellular proteome forms protein quality control (PQC) machinery to maintain an uninterrupted synthesis of new polypeptides and targeted elimination of old or defective proteins. The process of PQC may get overwhelmed under specific genetic mutations, environmental stress conditions, and aging-associated perturbances. Many of these conditions may lead to the generation of various types of aberrant protein species that may or may not accumulate as large cellular inclusions. These proteinaceous formations, referred to as inclusion bodies (IBs), could be membrane-bound or membrane-less, cytoplasmic, or nuclear. Most importantly, they could either be toxic or protective. Under acute stress conditions, the formation of aggregates may cause proteostasis failure, leading to large-scale changes in the cellular proteome compositions. However, the large insoluble IBs may act as reservoirs for many soluble proteins with high aggregation propensities, which can overwhelm the cellular chaperoning capacity and protein degradation machinery. The kinetic equilibrium between folding and unfolding, misfolding, and refolding; aggregation and degradation is perturbed in one or many neurodegenerative disorders (NDDs) associated with dementia, cognitive impairments, movement, and behavioural losses. However, a detailed interplay of IBs into the manifestation of the NDDs is unknown, and a very primitive knowledge of structural compositions of amyloid inclusions is present. The present article presents a brief evolutionary background of IBs; their functional relevance for prokaryotes, plants, and animals; and associated involvement in neuronal proteostasis.
Neuroscientist (The Neuroscientist : a review journal bringing neurobiology, neurology and psychiatry)
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