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J Biol Chem. 1991 Oct 25;266(30):20532-7.

Regulation of endoplasmic reticulum stress proteins in COS cells transfected with immunoglobulin mu heavy chain cDNA.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Saint Louis University, Missouri 63104.


The mechanism by which endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress proteins are induced by the accumulation of incompletely assembled or malfolded proteins in the ER is poorly understood. The 78-kDa glucose-regulated protein (BiP), one of the ER stress proteins, has often been detected in stable complexes with these accumulated proteins. We have transfected COS cells with an immunoglobulin (Ig) mu heavy chain expression plasmid. Expressed mu-chain accumulated in the cells and formed stable complexes with BiP. As a result, the synthesis of three ER stress proteins, BiP, the 94-kDa glucose-regulated protein (GRP94/ERp99), and ERp72, was increased as were their mRNA levels. In addition, the degradation rate of BiP was increased, possibly because of its interaction with mu-chain. Cotransfection of the mu-chain plasmid with an Ig lambda light chain expression plasmid resulted in the appearance of mu-chain in the media in a covalent complex with lambda-chain. An intracellular consequence of this was a reduction in the levels of complex, and a diminished stimulation in the synthesis of the ER stress proteins. These results suggest that the complex in the ER may be involved in the signaling pathway for the induction of ER stress proteins and may represent one regulatory mechanism operating in differentiating B-lymphocytes.

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