Our Cells: Taking Out the Trash

Biochemists have understood how our cells manufacture various proteins for more than 70 years, but just how do our bodies’ get rid of damaged proteins? According to scientists, one way is a cellular system called a proteasome—a protein-eating body—which works like a cellular garbage disposal. The other way is called an autophageosome—self-eating body.

This research is important—a number of neurological diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, ALS, and Huntington’s, occur as a result of damaged proteins that the body is unable to clear. Collections of damaged proteins then impair cell function. A better understanding about what goes wrong in the protein disposal systems in people with certain diseases may lead to better treatments.

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