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Neurotherapeutics. 2013 Jul;10(3):416-28. doi: 10.1007/s13311-013-0186-5.

Opportunities and challenges for molecular chaperone modulation to treat protein-conformational brain diseases.

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Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, Novartis Pharma AG, CH-4002 Basel, Switzerland.


A common pathological hallmark of protein-conformational brain diseases is the formation of disease-specific protein aggregates. In Alzheimer's disease, these are comprised of amyloid-β and Tau as opposed to α-synuclein in Parkinson's disease and N-terminal fragments of mutant huntingtin in Huntington's disease. Most aggregates also sequester molecular chaperones, a protein family that assists in the folding, refolding, stabilization, and processing of client proteins, including misfolded proteins in brain diseases. Molecular chaperone modulation has achieved remarkable therapeutic effects in some cellular and preclinical animal models of protein-conformational diseases. This has raised hope for chaperone-based strategies to combat these diseases. Here, we review briefly the functional diversity and medical significance of molecular chaperones, their therapeutic potential, and common and specific challenges towards clinical application.

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