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J Biol Chem. 2002 May 10;277(19):17009-15. Epub 2002 Mar 7.

Identification of ERp29, an endoplasmic reticulum lumenal protein, as a new member of the thyroglobulin folding complex.

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  • 1Division of Molecular Toxicology, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institute, 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden.


Folding and post-translational modification of the thyroid hormone precursor, thyroglobulin (Tg), in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) of the thyroid epithelial cells is facilitated by several molecular chaperones and folding enzymes, such as BiP, GRP94, calnexin, protein disulfide isomerase, ERp72, and others. They have been shown to associate simultaneously and/or sequentially with Tg in the course of its maturation, thus forming large heterocomplexes in the ER of thyrocytes. Here we present evidence that such complexes include a novel member, an ER-resident lumenal protein, ERp29, which is present in all mammalian tissues with exceptionally high levels of expression in the secretory cells. ERp29 was induced upon treatment of FRTL-5 rat thyrocytes with the thyroid-stimulating hormone, which is essential for the maintenance of thyroid cells and Tg biosynthesis. Chemical cross-linking followed by the cell lysis and immunoprecipitation of ERp29 or Tg revealed association of these proteins and additionally, immunocomplexes that also included major ER chaperones, BiP and GRP94. Sucrose density gradient analysis indicated co-localization of ERp29 with Tg and BiP in the fractions containing large macromolecular complexes. This was supported by immunofluorescent microscopy showing co-localization of ERp29 with Tg in the putative transport vesicular structures. Affinity chromatography using Tg as an affinity ligand demonstrated that ERp29 might be selectively isolated from the FRTL-5 cell lysate or purified lumenal fraction of rat liver microsomes along with the other ER chaperones. Preferential association with the urea-denatured Tg-Sepharose was indicative of either direct or circuitous ERp29/Tg interactions in a chaperone-like manner. Despite the presence of the C-terminal ER-retrieval signal, significant amounts of ERp29 were also recovered from the culture medium of stimulated thyrocytes, indicating ERp29 secretion. Based on these data, we suggest that the function of ERp29 in thyroid cells is connected with folding and/or secretion of Tg.

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