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J Cell Sci. 2002 Jun 1;115(Pt 11):2443-52.

BiP is feed-back regulated by control of protein translation efficiency.

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  • 1Biochemie-Zentrum Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 328, D-69120 Heidelberg, Germany.


The lumenal endoplasmic reticulum (ER) protein BiP, among its other functions, is believed to serve as an ER stress sensor, triggering the so-called 'unfolded protein response' or UPR. For this role, BiP levels are critical. Indeed, here we show that BiP expression is tightly controlled at a post-transcriptional level. Thus, an artificial increase in cellular BiP mRNA does not lead to increased synthesis of BiP in unstressed cells, and, consequently, protein levels remain constant. Under ER stress conditions, however, this homeostatic restriction is alleviated, and independent of transcript levels, the translation efficiency of BiP transcripts is enhanced, allowing the cells to produce more protein. We additionally show that this regulation is independent of elements in the 5' and 3' UTR of BiP mRNA, which rather points to a novel type of translational feedback control. BiP is the first example of a lumenal protein whose expression is controlled at a translational level. The implications of these findings with respect to cellular stress are discussed.

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