The accumulation of protein aggregates is a common pathological hallmark of many neurodegenerative diseases. However, we do not fully understand how aggregates are formed or the complex network of chaperones, proteasomes and other regulatory factors involved in their clearance. Here, we report a chemically controllable fluorescent protein that enables us to rapidly produce small aggregates inside living cells on the order of seconds, as well as monitor the movement and coalescence of individual aggregates into larger structures. This method can be applied to diverse experimental systems, including live animals, and may prove valuable for understanding cellular responses and diseases associated with protein aggregates.
Protein aggregates are associated with a wide variety of diseases. Here, in order to address how protein aggregation affects cellular homoeostasis, the authors describe a method to rapidly create protein aggregates in living cells and organisms with precise spatial and temporal control.