Part 4: The 9 causes of aging - Misfolded proteins

Part 4: The 9 causes of aging - Misfolded proteins

Les causes du vieillissement -

In our series on the 9 causes of aging, we will now discuss a fourth identified cause of aging: protein folding and aggregation.

For other causes of aging, click here!

Proteins: definition

Proteins are the building blocks of your body. Each of the 30,000 genes in your genome is the blueprint for manufacturing a protein that will have its own role.

The functioning of proteins is mainly due to their shape. Once folded on itself in the right way, a protein becomes active and can carry out its function correctly.

unfolded protein long long life 9 causes of aging longevity transhumanism
long long life protein 9 causes of aging longevity transhumanism

Protein folding

When proteins do not fold or unfold properly, they can build up and cause disease. In Parkinson's disease, for example, alpha-synuclein, a small protein found in neurons, is misfolded and forms aggregates in the ends of neurons. These aggregates end up blocking neuronal communication and causing the symptoms we know.

This accumulation may be due to a poor structure of the protein, linked to a mutation or a chemical reaction, or to the failure of the two cellular building recycling systems. The cells of our body have been putting the principles of the circular economy into practice for a long time. These two mechanisms indeed seem to deteriorate with age.

Chaperone proteins

Certain proteins (called chaperone proteins) are responsible for helping other proteins fold, but also for transporting them to the cell's protein dump if they no longer function. During aging, these chaperone proteins may decline in effectiveness and become less and less able to help other proteins fold. These proteins therefore themselves lose their activity during their aging, which creates a vicious circle and therefore problems with protein management and an accumulation of misfolded proteins in your cells.

old proteins long long life 9 causes of aging longevity transhumanism

To summarize, over time, certain misfolded proteins accumulate in the body, pollute it, and harm the functioning of our cells, to the point of causing the death of some of them. This dysfunction is found in many diseases associated with aging, such as Alzheimer's disease or age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The Franco-Croatian researcher Miroslav Radman makes it the main primary cause of aging .


Dr. Guilhem Velvé Casquillas on