, Volume 14, Issue 8, pp 996-1007
Date: 10 Apr 2009

Cellular responses to endoplasmic reticulum stress and apoptosis

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The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is the cell organelle where secretory and membrane proteins are synthesized and folded. Correctly folded proteins exit the ER and are transported to the Golgi and other destinations within the cell, but proteins that fail to fold properly—misfolded proteins—are retained in the ER and their accumulation may constitute a form of stress to the cell—ER stress. Several signaling pathways, collectively known as unfolded protein response (UPR), have evolved to detect the accumulation of misfolded proteins in the ER and activate a cellular response that attempts to maintain homeostasis and a normal flux of proteins in the ER. In certain severe situations of ER stress, however, the protective mechanisms activated by the UPR are not sufficient to restore normal ER function and cells die by apoptosis. Most research on the UPR used yeast or mammalian model systems and only recently Drosophila has emerged as a system to study the molecular and cellular mechanisms of the UPR. Here, we review recent advances in Drosophila UPR research, in the broad context of mammalian and yeast literature.