Specificity in intracellular protein aggregation and inclusion body formation
Protein aggregation is widely considered to be a nonspecific coalescence of misfolded proteins, driven by interactions between solvent-exposed hydrophobic surfaces that are normally buried within a protein's interior. Accordingly, abnormal interactions between misfolded proteins with normal cellular constituents has been proposed to underlie the toxicity associated with protein aggregates in many neurodegenerative disorders. Here we have used fluorescence resonance energy transfer and deconvolution microscopy to investigate the degree to which unrelated misfolded proteins expressed in the same cells coaggregate with one another. Our data reveal that in cells, protein aggregation exhibits exquisite specificity even among extremely hydrophobic substrates expressed at very high levels.