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The effects of IRE1, ATF6, and PERK signaling on adRP-linked rhodopsins.

  • Author(s): Jerry Chiang, Wei-Chieh;
  • Lin, Jonathan H
  • et al.

Many mutations in rhodopsin gene linked to retinitis pigmentosa (RP) cause rhodopsin misfolding. Rod photoreceptor cells expressing misfolded rhodopsin eventually die. Identifying mechanisms to prevent rhodopsin misfolding or to remove irreparably misfolded rhodopsin could provide new therapeutic strategies. IRE1, ATF6, and PERK signaling pathways, collectively called the unfolded protein response (UPR), regulate the functions of endoplasmic reticulum, responsible for accurate folding of membrane proteins such as rhodopsin. We used chemical and genetic approaches to selectively activate IRE1, ATF6, or PERK signaling pathways one at a time and analyzed their effects on mutant rhodopsin linked to RP. We found that both artificial IRE1 and ATF6 signaling promoted the degradation of mutant rhodopsin with lesser effects on wild-type rhodopsin. Furthermore, IRE1 and ATF6 signaling preferentially reduced levels of aggregated rhodopsins. By contrast, PERK signaling reduced levels of wild-type and mutant rhodopsin. These studies indicate that activation of either IRE1, ATF6, or PERK prevents mutant rhodopsin from accumulating in the cells. In addition, activation of IRE1 or ATF6 can selectively remove aggregated or mutant rhodopsin from the cells and may be useful in treating RP associated with rhodopsin protein misfolding.

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