To maintain proteostasis, cells must integrate information and activities that supervise protein synthesis, protein folding, conformational stability, and also protein degradation. Extrinsic and intrinsic conditions can both impact normal proteostasis, causing the appearance of proteotoxic stress. Initially, proteotoxic stress elicits adaptive responses aimed at restoring proteostasis, allowing cells to survive the stress condition. However, if the proteostasis restoration fails, a permanent and sustained proteotoxic stress can be deleterious, and cell death ensues. Many cancer cells convive with high levels of proteotoxic stress, and this condition could be exploited from a therapeutic perspective. Understanding the cell death pathways engaged by proteotoxic stress is instrumental to better hijack the proliferative fate of cancer cells.
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