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J Neurosci Res. 2008 Feb 15;86(3):504-11.

Mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases: insights from live cell imaging.

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Department of Neurobiology, University of Osnabrück, Osnabrück, Germany.


Pathologic alterations in protein dynamics such as changes in protein degradation, accumulation of misfolded proteins, and deficits in cellular transport mechanisms are a common feature of most if not all neurodegenerative diseases. Live cell imaging studies promise to contribute to a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying these diseases by visualizing the turnover, accumulation, and transport of proteins in a living cellular context in real time. In this review, we discuss recent work in which different live cell imaging approaches are applied in cellular models of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, polyQ diseases, and tauopathies as paradigmatic examples of diseases with different types of alterations in protein dynamics. It becomes evident that live cell imaging studies provide new insights into different aspects of protein dynamics, such as the understanding that aggregates are not as static as concluded from previous studies but exhibit a remarkable molecular exchange and that the dynamicity state of the neuronal cytoskeleton might have a critical role in neuronal degeneration. It can be anticipated that live cell imaging studies will lead to a more dynamic view of protein turnover and aggregation, which may aid in identifying drugs that specifically interfere with disease-related changes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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