Organismal protein homeostasis mechanisms

Thorsten Hoppe*, Ehud Cohen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Sustaining a healthy proteome is a lifelong challenge for each individual cell of an organism. However, protein homeostasis or proteostasis is constantly jeopardized since damaged proteins accumulate under proteotoxic stress that originates from ever-changing metabolic, environmental, and pathological conditions. Proteostasis is achieved via a conserved network of quality control pathways that orchestrate the biogenesis of correctly folded proteins, prevent proteins from misfolding, and remove potentially harmful proteins by selective degradation. Nevertheless, the proteostasis network has a limited capacity and its collapse deteriorates cellular functionality and organismal viability, causing metabolic, oncological, or neurodegenerative disorders. While cell-autonomous quality control mechanisms have been described intensely, recent work on Caenorhabditis elegans has demonstrated the systemic coordination of proteostasis between distinct tissues of an organism. These findings indicate the existence of intricately balanced proteostasis networks important for integration and maintenance of the organismal proteome, opening a new door to define novel therapeutic targets for protein aggregation diseases. Here, we provide an overview of individual protein quality control pathways and the systemic coordination between central proteostatic nodes. We further provide insights into the dynamic regulation of cellular and organismal proteostasis mechanisms that integrate environmental and metabolic changes. The use of C. elegans as a model has pioneered our understanding of conserved quality control mechanisms important to safeguard the organismal proteome in health and disease.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)889-901
Number of pages13
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2020 Hoppe and Cohen.


  • Autophagy
  • C. elegans
  • Chaperone
  • Intertissue signaling
  • Proteasome
  • Proteostasis
  • Proteotoxicity
  • Stress response
  • Ubiquitin
  • Unfolded protein response
  • WormBook


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