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Mol Cell. 2012 Jul 13;47(1):99-110. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2012.04.015. Epub 2012 May 17.

STT3B-dependent posttranslational N-glycosylation as a surveillance system for secretory protein.

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Department of Molecular Medicine, Global COE Cell Fate Regulation Research and Education Unit, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kumamoto University, 5-1 Oe-Honmachi, Kumamoto 862-0973, Japan.


Nascent secretory proteins are extensively scrutinized at the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Various signatures of client proteins, including exposure of hydrophobic patches or unpaired sulfhydryls, are coordinately utilized to reduce nonnative proteins in the ER. We report here the cryptic N-glycosylation site as a recognition signal for unfolding of a natively nonglycosylated protein, transthyretin (TTR), involved in familial amyloidosis. Folding and ER-associated degradation (ERAD) perturbation analyses revealed that prolonged TTR unfolding induces externalization of cryptic N-glycosylation site and triggers STT3B-dependent posttranslational N-glycosylation. Inhibition of posttranslational N-glycosylation increases detergent-insoluble TTR aggregates and decreases cell proliferation of mutant TTR-expressing cells. Moreover, this modification provides an alternative pathway for degradation, which is EDEM3-mediated N-glycan-dependent ERAD, distinct from the major pathway of Herp-mediated N-glycan-independent ERAD. Hence we postulate that STT3B-dependent posttranslational N-glycosylation is part of a triage-salvage system recognizing cryptic N-glycosylation sites of secretory proteins to preserve protein homeostasis.

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