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Biochemistry - Hematology - Molecular Biology

Protein C Mutation (A267T) Results in ER Retention and Unfolded Protein Response Activation
Published: Thursday, August 25, 2011
Author: Lena Tjeldhorn et al.

by Lena Tjeldhorn, Nina Iversen, Kirsten Sandvig, Jonas Bergan, Per Morten Sandset, Grethe Skretting


Protein C (PC) deficiency is associated with a high risk of venous thrombosis. Recently, we identified the PC-A267T mutation in a patient with PC deficiency and revealed by in vitro studies decreased intracellular and secreted levels of the mutant. The aim of the present study was to characterize the underlying mechanism(s).

Methodology/Principal Findings

CHO-K1 cells stably expressing the wild-type (PC-wt) or the PC mutant were generated. In order to examine whether the PC mutant was subjected to increased intracellular degradation, the cells were treated with several inhibitors of various degradation pathways and pulse-chase experiments were performed. Protein-chaperone complexes were analyzed by treating the cells with a cross-linker followed by Western blotting (WB). Expression levels of the immunoglobulin-binding protein (BiP) and the phosphorylated eukaryotic initiation factor 2a (P-eIF2a), both common ER stress markers, were determined by WB to examine if the mutation induced ER stress and unfolded protein response (UPR) activation. We found no major differences in the intracellular degradation between the PC variants. The PC mutant was retained in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and had increased association with the Grp-94 and calreticulin chaperones. Retention of the PC-A267T in ER resulted in UPR activation demonstrated by increased expression levels of the ER stress markers BiP and P-eIF2a and caused also increased apoptotic activity in CHO-K1 cells as evidenced by elevated levels of DNA fragmentation.


The reduced intracellular level and impaired secretion of the PC mutant were due to retention in ER. In contrast to other PC mutations, retention of the PC-A267T in ER resulted in minor increased proteasomal degradation, rather it induced ER stress, UPR activation and apoptosis.