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PLoS One. 2010 Oct 5;5(10). pii: e13141. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0013141.

Endoplasmic reticulum calcium regulates the retrotranslocation of Trypanosoma cruzi calreticulin to the cytosol.

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Laboratory of Glycobiology, Fundación Instituto Leloir and Instituto de Investigaciones Bioquímicas de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina.


For most secretory pathway proteins, crossing the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane is an irreversible process. However, in some cases this flow can be reversed. For instance, misfolded proteins retained in the ER are retrotranslocated to the cytosol to be degraded by the proteasome. This mechanism, known as ER associated degradation (ERAD), is exploited by several bacterial toxins to gain access to the cytosol. Interestingly, some ER resident proteins can also be detected in the cytosol or nucleus, calreticulin (CRT) being the most studied. Here we show that in Trypanosoma cruzi a minor fraction of CRT localized to the cytosol. ER calcium depletion, but not increasing cytosolic calcium, triggered the retrotranslocation of CRT in a relatively short period of time. Cytosolic CRT was subsequently degraded by the proteasome. Interestingly, the single disulfide bridge of CRT is reduced when the protein is located in the cytosol. The effect exerted by ER calcium was strictly dependent on the C-terminal domain (CRT-C), since a CRT lacking it was totally retained in the ER, whereas the localization of an unrelated protein fused to CRT-C mirrored that of endogenous CRT. This finding expands the regulatory mechanisms of protein sorting and may represent a new crossroad between diverse physiological processes.

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