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Crit Rev Biochem Mol Biol. 2005 Mar-Apr;40(2):75-91.

Search and destroy: ER quality control and ER-associated protein degradation.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA.


Proteins synthesized in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) encounter quality control checkpoints that verify their fitness to proceed in the secretory pathway. Molecules undergoing folding and assembly are kept out of the exocytic pathway until maturation is complete. Misfolded side products that inevitably form are removed from the mixture of conformers and returned to the cytosol for degradation. How unfolded proteins are recognized and how irreversibly misfolded proteins are sorted to ER-associated degradation pathways was poorly understood. Recent developments from a combination of genetic and biochemical analyses has revealed new insights into these mechanisms. The emerging view shows distinct pathways working in collaboration to filter the diverse range of unfolded proteins from the transport flow and to divert misfolded molecules for destruction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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