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Mol Biol Cell. 2012 Mar;23(5):758-70. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E11-08-0663. Epub 2012 Jan 4.

IRE1 directs proteasomal and lysosomal degradation of misfolded rhodopsin.

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Department of Pathology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.


Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is responsible for folding of secreted and membrane proteins in eukaryotic cells. Disruption of ER protein folding leads to ER stress. Chronic ER stress can cause cell death and is proposed to underlie the pathogenesis of many human diseases. Inositol-requiring enzyme 1 (IRE1) directs a key unfolded protein response signaling pathway that controls the fidelity of ER protein folding. IRE1 signaling may be particularly helpful in preventing chronic ER stress and cell injury by alleviating protein misfolding in the ER. To examine this, we used a chemical-genetic approach to selectively activate IRE1 in mammalian cells and tested how artificial IRE1 signaling affected the fate of misfolded P23H rhodopsin linked to photoreceptor cell death. We found that IRE1 signaling robustly promoted the degradation of misfolded P23H rhodopsin without affecting its wild-type counterpart. We also found that IRE1 used both proteasomal and lysosomal degradation pathways to remove P23H rhodopsin. Surprisingly, when one degradation pathway was compromised, IRE1 signaling could still promote misfolded rhodopsin degradation using the remaining pathway. Last, we showed that IRE1 signaling also reduced levels of several other misfolded rhodopsins with lesser effects on misfolded cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator. Our findings reveal the diversity of proteolytic mechanisms used by IRE1 to eliminate misfolded rhodopsin.

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