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J Biol Chem. 2006 May 26;281(21):14622-31. Epub 2006 Mar 27.

Functions of ERp57 in the folding and assembly of major histocompatibility complex class I molecules.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1A8, Canada.


ERp57 is a thiol oxidoreductase of the endoplasmic reticulum that appears to be recruited to substrates indirectly through its association with the molecular chaperones calnexin and calreticulin. However, its functions in living cells have been difficult to demonstrate. During the biogenesis of class I histocompatibility molecules, ERp57 has been detected in association with free class I heavy chains and, at a later stage, with a large complex termed the peptide loading complex. This implicates ERp57 in heavy chain disulfide formation, isomerization, or reduction as well as in the loading of peptides onto class I molecules. In this study, we show that ERp57 does indeed participate in oxidative folding of the heavy chain. Depletion of ERp57 by RNA interference delayed heavy chain disulfide bond formation, slowed folding of the heavy chain alpha(3) domain, and caused slight delays in the transport of class I molecules from the endoplasmic reticulum to the Golgi apparatus. In contrast, heavy chain-beta(2)-microglobulin association kinetics were normal, suggesting that the interaction between heavy chain and beta(2) -microglobulin does not depend on an oxidized alpha(3) domain. Likewise, the peptide loading complex assembled properly, and peptide loading appeared normal upon depletion of ERp57. These studies demonstrate that ERp57 is involved in disulfide formation in vivo but do not support a role for ERp57 in peptide loading of class I molecules. Interestingly, depletion of another thiol oxidoreductase, ERp72, had no detectable effect on class I biogenesis, consistent with a specialized role for ERp57 in this process.

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