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Protein Sci. 1996 Aug;5(8):1443-52.

Protein folding in the endoplasmic reticulum: lessons from the human chorionic gonadotropin beta subunit.

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Eppley Institute for Research in Cancer and Allied Diseases, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha 68189, USA.


There have been few studies of protein folding in the endoplasmic reticulum of intact mammalian cells. In the one case where the in vivo and in vitro folding pathways of a mammalian secretory protein have been compared, the folding of the human chorionic gonadotropin beta subunit (hCG-beta), the order of formation of the detected folding intermediates is the same. The rate and efficiency with which multidomain proteins such as hCG-beta fold to native structure in intact cells is higher than in vitro, although intracellular rates of folding of the beta subunit can be approached in vitro in the presence of an optimal redox potential and protein disulfide isomerase. Understanding how proteins fold in vivo may provide a new way to diagnose and treat human illnesses that occur due to folding defects.

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