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Front Oncol. 2015 Apr 20;5:93. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2015.00093. eCollection 2015.

Stress responses from the endoplasmic reticulum in cancer.

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Laboratory of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Department of Medical Sciences, University of Miyazaki , Miyazaki , Japan.


The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is a dynamic organelle that is essential for multiple cellular functions. During cellular stress conditions, including nutrient deprivation and dysregulation of protein synthesis, unfolded/misfolded proteins accumulate in the ER lumen, resulting in activation of the unfolded protein response (UPR). The UPR also contributes to the regulation of various intracellular signaling pathways such as calcium signaling and lipid signaling. More recently, the mitochondria-associated ER membrane (MAM), which is a site of close contact between the ER and mitochondria, has been shown to function as a platform for various intracellular stress responses including apoptotic signaling, inflammatory signaling, the autophagic response, and the UPR. Interestingly, in cancer, these signaling pathways from the ER are often dysregulated, contributing to cancer cell metabolism. Thus, the signaling pathway from the ER may be a novel therapeutic target for various cancers. In this review, we discuss recent research on the roles of stress responses from the ER, including the MAM.


ER stress; cancer; endoplasmic reticulum; mitochondria-associated ER membrane; unfolded protein response

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