Protein quality control research is “almost exclusively focused on heat shock proteins, which are ubiquitously present” up and down the evolutionary chain, Xiaolu Yang told BioWorld. But “for more sophisticated organisms, which we humans like to think we are, it’s a little odd that we still use the system that bacteria started with…. It seems like we should have something more. The TRIM system,” he added, “fills that gap.”
TRIMs or tripartite motif proteins are a group of quality control proteins that are found only in animals. One of their functions is to add ubiquitin tags to proteins, marking them for transport to the proteasome system. TRIMs are part of the innate antiviral defense system. But in the July 27, 2023, issue of Science, Yang, who is a professor of cancer biology in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and his colleagues reported that TRIM11 interacts with tau protein in multiple ways that were beneficial in preventing tauopathies.