Current Opinion in Chemical Biology, Volume 64, October 2021,
More than a century has passed since pathological protein aggregates were first identified in the brains of patients with neurodegenerative diseases (NDDs). Yet, we still do not have effective therapies to treat or slow the progression of these devastating diseases or diagnostics for early detection and monitoring disease progression. Herein, I reflect on recent findings that are challenging traditional views about the composition, ultrastructural properties, and diversity of protein pathologies in the brain, their mechanisms of formation and how we investigate and model pathological aggregation processes in the laboratory today. This article is an invitation to embrace the complexity of proteinopathies as an essential step to understanding the molecular mechanisms underpinning NDDs and to advance translational research and drug discovery in NDDs.