Even though our knowledge of how proteins misfold and aggregate is deeper nowadays, the mechanisms driving this process are still poorly understood. Among the factors involved, membranes should be taken into account. Indeed, convincing evidence suggests that membranes may influence protein folding, misfolding and aggregation. In fact, membrane lipid composition of different cellular types may attenuate or intensify the environmental pressure over protein folding equilibrium. In the present review the aim is to make an up-to-date analysis of the membrane influence on protein aggregation from a biophysical point of view in order to provide useful tools for researchers from other fields. In particular, we discuss how membranes can alter protein environment, e.g. increasing local protein concentration, lowering pH and dielectric constant, allowing accessibility to the hydrophobic milieu and promoting surface crowding, all of which will lead to protein aggregation. In addition, we review the role that specific lipids may exert on protein aggregation and finally we analyse the possible implication of membrane-related oxidative stress on amyloidogenesis.
Keywords: Membranes, amyloids, proteins, neurodegenerative diseases, oxidative stress, alpha-synuclein, amyloid-beta, GAPDH, Amyloid Formation, Biophysical Perspective, Protein folding, Protein misfolding, Protein aggregation, Protein environment, protein crowd, amyloidogenesis, hydrophobic milieu, amyloids
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