Releasing the lockdown: An emerging role for the ubiquitin-proteasome system in the breakdown of transient protein inclusions

Yuval Reiss*, Elisheva Gur, Tommer Ravid*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Intracellular protein inclusions are diverse cellular entities with distinct biological properties. They vary in their protein content, sequestration sites, physiological function, conditions for their generation, and turnover rates. Major distinctions have been recognized between stationary amyloids and dynamic, misfolded protein deposits. The former being a dead end for irreversibly misfolded proteins, hence, cleared predominantly by autophagy, while the latter consists of a protein-quality control mechanism, important for cell endurance, where proteins are sequestered during proteotoxic stress and resolved upon its relief. Accordingly, the disaggregation of transient inclusions is a regulated process consisting of protein solubilization, followed by a triage step to either refolding or to ubiquitin-mediated degradation. Recent studies have demonstrated an indispensable role in disaggregation for components of the chaperone and the ubiquitin–proteasome systems. These include heat-shock chaperones of the 40/70/100 kDa families, the proteasome, proteasome substrate shuttling factors, and deubiquitylating enzymes. Thus, a functional link has been established between the chaperone machinery that extracts proteins from transient deposits and 26S proteasome-dependent disaggregation, indicative of a coordinated process. In this review, we discuss data emanating from these important studies and subsequently consolidate the information in the form of a working model for the disaggregation mechanism.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number1168
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Chaperones
  • Degradation
  • Disaggregation
  • Misfolding
  • Protein quality control
  • Refolding
  • The ubiquitin-proteasome system


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