Image credit:Dilok Klaisataporn, iStock.
Proteins are essential components of living matter – they function as building blocks for cells and tissues, as well as participate in signaling and practically all biochemical activities. However, each protein operates correctly only for a limited amount of time and is eliminated by molecular machinery after it has reached its “functional shelflife”. To maintain a healthy and functional proteome, cells tightly control protein turnover processes, ensuring that misfolded, damaged, and old proteins exit the game in a timely manner. This sophisticated mechanism of degradation was recently hijacked by the drug discovery industry to develop new small molecule therapies — protein degraders.