Enhanced ubiquitin-proteasome activity in calreticulin deficient cells: A compensatory mechanism for cell survival

Anton V. Uvarov, Nasrin Mesaeli

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Calreticulin is a lectin chaperone essential for intracellular calcium homeostasis. Deletion of calreticulin gene compromises the overall quality control within the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) leading to activation of the unfolded protein response. However, the ER structure of calreticulin deficient cells (crt-/-) is not altered due to accumulation of misfolded proteins. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine whether the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway is activated in crt-/- cells as a compensatory mechanism for cell survival. Here we show a significant increase in the expression of genes involved in ER associated degradation and activation of the ubiquitin-proteasome system in crt-/- cells. We also demonstrated that the ubiquitination of two proteins processed in ER, connexin 43 and A1AT NHK (α1-antitrypsin mutant) are increased in crt-/- cells. Furthermore, we showed that the increased proteasome activity in the crt-/- cells could be rescued upon re-introduction of calreticulin or calsequestrin (a muscle calcium binding protein). We also illustrated that increased cytosolic Ca2+ enhances the proteasome activity. Interestingly, suppression of calnexin function using siRNA further elevated the proteasome activity in crt-/- cells. This is the first report to show that loss of calreticulin function enhances the ubiquitin-proteasome activity which could function as a compensatory mechanism for cell survival.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1237-1247
Number of pages11
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Cell Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2008



  • Calcium
  • Calreticulin
  • Endoplasmic reticulum stress
  • Proteasome
  • Protein degradation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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