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Biochemistry Research International
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 823597, 11 pages
Review Article

A Critical Appraisal of Quantitative Studies of Protein Degradation in the Framework of Cellular Proteostasis

1Departamento de Bioquímica, Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas “Alberto Sols” (UAM-CSIC), Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red sobre Enfermedades Neurodegenerativas (CIBERNED), Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, 28029 Madrid, Spain
2Departamento de Matemáticas, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Cantoblanco, 28049 Madrid, Spain

Received 1 June 2012; Accepted 18 June 2012

Academic Editor: Dmitry Karpov

Copyright © 2012 Beatriz Alvarez-Castelao et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Protein homeostasis, proteostasis, is essential to understand cell function. Protein degradation is a crucial component of the proteostatic mechanisms of the cell. Experiments on protein degradation are nowadays present in many investigations in the field of molecular and cell biology. In the present paper, we focus on the different experimental approaches to study protein degradation and present a critical appraisal of the results derived from steady-state and kinetic experiments using detection of unlabelled and labelled protein methodologies with a proteostatic perspective. This perspective allows pinpointing the limitations in interpretation of results and the need of further experiments and/or controls to establish “definitive evidence” for the role of protein degradation in the proteostasis of a given protein or the entire proteome. We also provide a spreadsheet for simple calculations of mRNA and protein decays for mimicking different experimental conditions and a checklist for the analysis of experiments dealing with protein degradation studies that may be useful for researchers interested in the area of protein turnover.