Dislocation and degradation from the ER are regulated by cytosolic stress

Judy K. Vanslyke, Linda S. Musil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


A key step in ER-associated degradation (ERAD) is dislocation of the substrate protein from the ER into the cytosol to gain access to the proteasome. Very little is known about how this process is regulated, especially in the case of polytopic proteins. Using pulse-chase analysis combined with subcellular fractionation, we show that connexins, the four transmembrane structural components of gap junctions, can be chased in an intact form from the ER membrane into the cytosol of proteasome inhibitor-treated cells. Dislocation of endogenously expressed connexin from the ER was reduced 50-80% when the cytosolic heat shock response was induced by mild oxidative or thermal stress, but not by treatments that instead upregulate the ER unfolded protein response. Cytosolic but not ER stresses slowed the normally rapid degradation of connexins, and led to a striking increase in gap junction formation and function in otherwise assembly-inefficient cell types. These treatments also inhibited the dislocation and turnover of a connexin-unrelated ERAD substrate, unassembled major histocompatibility complex class I heavy chain. Our findings demonstrate that dislocation is negatively regulated by physiologically relevant, nonlethal stress. They also reveal a previously unrecognized relationship between cytosolic stress and intercellular communication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)381-394
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 29 2002


  • Connexins
  • Endoplasmic reticulum
  • Gap junctions
  • Heat-shock response
  • Proteasome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Dislocation and degradation from the ER are regulated by cytosolic stress'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this