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EMBO J. 1992 Apr;11(4):1563-71.

Overexpression of GRP78 mitigates stress induction of glucose regulated proteins and blocks secretion of selective proteins in Chinese hamster ovary cells.

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Genetics Institute, Cambridge, MA 02140.


GRP78 is a resident protein of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and a member of the glucose regulated protein (GRP) family. Many secretion incompetent proteins are found in stable association with GRP78 and are retained in the ER. Some proteins which are destined for secretion transiently associate with GRP78. To further increase our understanding of the role of GRP78 in secretion, we have stably overexpressed GRP78 in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells and examined the effect on protein secretion and the stress response. GRP78 overexpressing cells treated with tunicamycin or A23187 exhibited a reduced induction of endogenous GRP78 and GRP94 mRNAs compared to wild-type CHO cells. This suggests that GRP78 overexpression either alleviates the stress or is directly involved in signaling stress-induced expression of GRPs. Transient expression of secreted proteins was used to measure secretion efficiency in the GRP78 overexpressing cells. Secretion of von Willebrand factor and a mutant form of factor VIII, two proteins which transiently associate with GRP78, was reduced by GRP78 overexpression. In contrast, secretion of M-CSF, which was not detected in association with GRP78, was unaffected. This indicates that elevated levels of GRP78 may increase stable association and decrease the secretion efficiency of proteins which normally transiently associate with GRP78. These results indicate that one function of GRP78 is selective protein retention in the ER.

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