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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Role of calnexin in the glycan-independent quality control of proteolipid protein.

The endoplasmic (ER) quality control apparatus ensures that misfolded or unassembled proteins are not deployed within the cell, but are retained in the ER and degraded. A glycoprotein-specific system involving the ER lectins calnexin and calreticulin is well documented, but very little is known about mechanisms that may operate for non-glycosylated proteins. We have used a folding mutant of a non- glycosylated membrane protein, proteolipid protein (PLP), to examine the quality control of this class of polypeptide. We find that calnexin associates with newly synthesized PLP molecules, binding stably to misfolded PLP. Calnexin also binds stably to an isolated transmembrane domain of PLP, suggesting that this chaperone is able to monitor the folding and assembly of domains within the ER membrane. Notably, this glycan-independent interaction with calnexin significantly retards the degradation of misfolded PLP. We propose that calnexin contributes to the quality control of non-glycosylated polytopic membrane proteins by binding to misfolded or unassembled transmembrane domains, and discuss our findings in relation to the role of calnexin in the degradation of misfolded proteins.[1]


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