Publication Details

Fu, Y., Han, D., Wang, Y., Di, X., Yu, H. & Mu, T. (2018). Remodeling the endoplasmic reticulum proteostasis network restores proteostasis of pathogenic GABA A receptors. PLoS One, 13 (11), e0207948-1-e0207948-23.


Biogenesis of membrane proteins is controlled by the protein homeostasis (proteostasis) network. We have been focusing on protein quality control of γ-aminobutyric acid type A (GABAA) receptors, the major inhibitory neurotransmitter-gated ion channels in mammalian central nervous system. Proteostasis deficiency in GABAA receptors causes loss of their surface expression and thus function on the plasma membrane, leading to epilepsy and other neurological diseases. One well-characterized example is the A322D mutation in the α1 subunit that causes its extensive misfolding and expedited degradation in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), resulting in autosomal dominant juvenile myoclonic epilepsy. We aimed to correct misfolding of the α1(A322D) subunits in the ER as an approach to restore their functional surface expression. Here, we showed that application of BIX, a specific, potent ER resident HSP70 family protein BiP activator, significantly increases the surface expression of the mutant receptors in human HEK293T cells and neuronal SH-SY5Y cells. BIX attenuates the degradation of α1(A322D) and enhances their forward trafficking and function. Furthermore, because BiP is one major target of the two unfolded protein response (UPR) pathways: ATF6 and IRE1, we continued to demonstrate that modest activations of the ATF6 pathway and IRE1 pathway genetically enhance the plasma membrane trafficking of the α1(A322D) protein in HEK293T cells. Our results underlie the potential of regulating the ER proteostasis network to correct loss-of-function protein conformational diseases.



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