Introduction: Many human diseases result from a failure of a single protein to achieve the correct folding and tertiary conformation. These so-called 'conformational diseases' involve diverse proteins and distinctive cellular pathologies. They all engage the proteostasis network (PN), to varying degrees in an attempt to mange cellular stress and restore protein homeostasis. The insulin/insulin-like growth factor signaling (IIS) pathway is a master regulator of cellular stress response, which is implicated in regulating components of the PN.Areas covered: This review focuses on novel approaches to target conformational diseases. The authors discuss the evidence supporting the involvement of the IIS pathway in modulating the PN and regulating proteostasis in Caenorhabditis elegans. Furthermore, they review previous PN and IIS drug screens and explore the possibility of using C. elegans for whole organism-based drug discovery for modulators of IIS-proteostasis pathways.Expert opinion: An alternative approach to develop individualized therapy for each conformational disease is to modulate the global PN. The involvement of the IIS pathway in regulating longevity and response to a variety of stresses is well documented. Increasing data now provide evidence for the close association between the IIS and the PN pathways. The authors believe that high-throughput screening campaigns, which target the C. elegans IIS pathway, may identify drugs that are efficacious in treating numerous conformational diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1021-1032
Number of pages12
JournalExpert Opinion on Drug Discovery
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2014


  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Conformational disease
  • Drug discovery
  • Insulin signaling
  • Proteostasis network


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