Maintaining functional protein homeostasis (proteostasis) is a constant challenge in the face of limited protein-folding capacity, environmental threats, and aging. Cells have developed several quality-control mechanisms that assist nascent polypeptides to fold properly, clear misfolded molecules, respond to the accumulation of protein aggregates, and deposit potentially toxic conformers in designated sites. Proteostasis collapse can lead to the development of diseases known as proteinopathies. Here we delineate the current knowledge on the different layers of protein quality-control mechanisms at the organelle and cellular levels with an emphasis on the prion protein (PrP). We also describe how protein quality control is integrated at the organismal level and discuss future perspectives on utilizing proteostasis maintenance as a strategy to develop novel therapies for the treatment of proteinopathies.
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