Head-to-tail oligomerization of calsequestrin: A novel mechanism for heterogeneous distribution of endoplasmic reticulum luminal proteins

Giuliana Gatti, Sara Trifari, Nasrin Mesaeli, J. M.Robert Parker, Marek Michalak, Jacopo Meldolesi

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37 Citations (Scopus)


Many proteins retained within the endo/sarcoplasmic reticulum (ER/SR) lumen express the COOH-terminal tetrapeptide KDEL, by which they continuously recycle from the Golgi complex; however, others do not express the KDEL retrieval signal. Among the latter is calsequestrin (CSQ), the major Ca2+-binding protein condensed within both the terminal cisternae of striated muscle SR and the ER vacuolar domains of some neurons and smooth muscles. To reveal the mechanisms of condensation and establish whether it also accounts for ER/SR retention of CSQ, we generated a variety of constructs: chimeras with another similar protein, calreticulin (CRT); mutants truncated of COOH- or NH2-terminal domains; and other mutants deleted or point mutated at strategic sites. By transfection in L6 myoblasts and HeLa cells we show here that CSQ condensation in ER-derived vacuoles requires two amino acid sequences, one at the NH2 terminus, the other near the COOH terminus. Experiments with a green fluorescent protein GFP/CSQ chimera demonstrate that the CSQ-rich vacuoles are long-lived organelles, unaffected by Ca2+ depletion, whose almost complete lack of movement may depend on a direct interaction with the ER. CSQ retention within the ER can be dissociated from condensation, the first identified process by which ER luminal proteins assume a heterogeneous distribution. A model is proposed to explain this new process, that might also be valid for other luminal proteins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)525-534
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 6 Aug 2001



  • Calsequestrin
  • Calsequestrin mutants
  • Condensation
  • Endo/sarcoplasmic reticulum
  • L6 and HeLa cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology

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