Dislocation and Degradation of Proteins from the Endoplasmic Reticulum

Volume 300 of the series Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology pp 95-125

The Role of p97/Cdc48p in Endoplasmic Reticulum-Associated Degradation: From the Immune System to Yeast

  • S. Bar-NunAffiliated withDepartment of Biochemistry, George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel Aviv University

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Quality control mechanisms in the endoplasmic reticulum prevent deployment of aberrant or unwanted proteins to distal destinations and target them to degradation by a process known as endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation, or ERAD. Attempts to characterize ERAD by identifying a specific component have revealed that the most general characteristic of ERAD is that the protein substrates are initially translocated to the ER and eventually eliminated in the cytosol by the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. Hence, dislocation from the ER back to the cytosol is a hallmark in ERAD and p97/Cdc48p, a cytosolic AAA-ATPase that is essential for ERAD, appears to provide the driving force for this process. Moreover, unlike many ERAD components that participate in degradation of either lumenal or membrane substrates, p97/Cdc48p has a more general role in that it is required for ERAD of both types of substrates. Although p97/Cdc48p is not dedicated exclusively to ERAD, its ability to physically associate with ERAD substrates, with VIMP and with the E3 gp78 suggest that the p97/Cdc48Ufd1/Npl4 complex acts as a coordinator that maintains coupling between the different steps in ERAD.