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Understanding Protein Degradation in Healthy and Diabetic Muscle Cells

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Understanding Protein Degradation in Healthy and Diabetic Muscle Cells

Jessica Cardin, MS

The regulation of protein assembly and disassembly (protein flux) within the body has been a topic that has been studied extensively for the last 60 years. However, the majority of the research has been mostly focused on the rates of assembly (synthesis) and the related methodologies. Protein disassembly (degradation) is an equally viable research endeavor, as it is the other half of protein flux within tissues and whole body systems.

The body has many protein pools that are in constant flux and dysregulated degradation has been linked to many disease states, including Type II Diabetes, multiple forms of cancer, neurological degenerative disorders. Previous research has focused on either one of the two main systems for disassembly within the cell; the proteasome or the lysosome. 

However, the current body of work has neglected the synergy between these two cell structures and the potential for a mechanism that allows a cell to compensate when a proteolytic pathway is impaired or incapacitated. This pioneering research is important, as it will be the first to characterize the ability of the muscle cell to “shuttle” or partition protein disassembly between these two structures. Being able to comprehend how protein degradation works, as an entire system, will be invaluable for medical professionals to synthesize new treatments to combat the progression of diseases involving protein wasting. 




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