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EMBO J. 2009 May 6;28(9):1296-307. doi: 10.1038/emboj.2009.76. Epub 2009 Apr 2.

ER stress protects from retinal degeneration.

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute, The Rockefeller University, New York, NY, USA.


The unfolded protein response (UPR) is a specific cellular process that allows the cell to cope with the overload of unfolded/misfolded proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). ER stress is commonly associated with degenerative pathologies, but its role in disease progression is still a matter for debate. Here, we found that mutations in the ER-resident chaperone, neither inactivation nor afterpotential A (NinaA), lead to mild ER stress, protecting photoreceptor neurons from various death stimuli in adult Drosophila. In addition, Drosophila S2 cultured cells, when pre-exposed to mild ER stress, are protected from H(2)O(2), cycloheximide- or ultraviolet-induced cell death. We show that a specific ER-mediated signal promotes antioxidant defences and inhibits caspase-dependent cell death. We propose that an immediate consequence of the UPR not only limits the accumulation of misfolded proteins but also protects tissues from harmful exogenous stresses.

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