Proteolysis has traditionally been considered as a radical way to terminate the function of a protein. However, protein destruction also is the starting point for many processes as they can only occur when the way has been cleared for the action of other proteins. Protein destruction can occur virtually in all compartments and organelles of the cell, associated with cell membranes or large protein complexes, it determines subcellular partitioning, association with positive or negative regulators which conditions the action of many critical cellular factors. The third intracellular proteolysis meeting held by the University La Laguna, Canary Islands, Spain, included speakers working with some of the most important proteolytic systems present in higher eukaryotes, such as the UPS (ubiquitin–proteasome system) and autophagy. Owing to the fact that these pathways directly or indirectly regulate many cell functions, this meeting brought together an audience with a wide range of research interests, including genetic, cell biological, biochemical and structural aspects of protein degradation. Some of these topics inspired interesting discussions and a significant number of these are developed in the issues reviewed herein.

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