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Limitation of individual folding resources in the ER leads to outcomes distinct from the unfolded protein response
Davide Eletto, Avinash Maganty, Daniela Eletto, Devin Dersh, Catherine Makarewich, Chhanda Biswas, James C. Paton, Adrienne W. Paton, Shirin Doroudgar, Christopher C. Glembotski, Yair Argon


ER stress leads to upregulation of multiple folding and quality control components, known as the unfolded protein response (UPR). Glucose Regulated Proteins 78 and 94 (GRP78/BiP and GRP94) are often upregulated coordinately as part of this homeostatic response. Given that ER chaperones have distinct sets of clients, we asked how cells respond to ablation of individual chaperones. The cellular responses to silencing BiP, GRP94, HSP47, PDIA6 and OS-9, were distinct. When BiP was silenced, a widespread UPR was observed, but when GRP94 was either inhibited or depleted by RNAi, the expression of only some genes, notably BiP and protein disulfide isomerase A6 (PDIA6) was induced. Silencing of HSP47 or OS-9 did not lead to any compensatory induction of other genes. The selective response to GRP94 depletion was distinct from a typical ER stress response, both because other UPR target genes were not affected and because the canonical UPR signaling branches were not activated. The response to silencing of GRP94 did not preclude further UPR induction when chemical stress was imposed. Importantly, re-expression of wild-type GRP94 in the silenced cells prevented the up-regulation of BiP and PDIA6, while re-expression of an ATPase-deficient GRP94 mutant did not, indicating that cells monitor the state of activity of GRP94. These findings suggest that cells are able to distinguish among folding resources and generate distinct responses.