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Mutat Res. 1991 Mar-Nov;256(2-6):255-62.

Senescence and the accumulation of abnormal proteins.

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Genetics Division, National Institute for Medical Research, London, U.K.


Mammalian cells can produce abnormal proteins in a number of different ways. These include random errors during protein synthesis, spontaneous or metabolite-induced modifications of amino acid sidechains and changes in polypeptide folding. The evidence that such alterations occur in proteins during growth and senescence is discussed. An important function controlling the accumulation of abnormal proteins is the rate at which they are hydrolysed by proteases. Modified proteins are much better protease substrates than their normal parent molecules, but in spite of this sensitivity to proteolysis they accumulate during ageing. This indicates a drop during senescence in the activity of those proteases degrading abnormal polypeptides. Ways in which abnormal proteins could inhibit cell growth and how these inhibitions may be negated during the immortalisation of diploid cells are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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