The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) quality-control machinery maintains the fidelity of the maturation process by sorting aberrant proteins for ER-associated protein degradation (ERAD), a process requiring retrotranslocation from the ER lumen to the cytosol and degradation by the proteasome. Here, we assessed the role of N-linked glycans in ERAD by monitoring the degradation of wild-type (Tyr) and albino mutant (Tyr(C85S)) tyrosinase. Initially, mutant tyrosinase was established as a genuine ERAD substrate using intact melanocyte and semi-permeabilized cell systems. Inhibiting mannose trimming or accumulating Tyr(C85S) in a monoglucosylated form led to its stabilization, supporting a role for lectin chaperones in ER retention and proteasomal degradation. In contrast, ablating the lectin chaperone interactions by preventing glucose trimming caused a rapid disappearance of tyrosinase, initially due to the formation of protein aggregates, which were subsequently degraded by the proteasome. The co-localization of aggregated tyrosinase with protein disulfide isomerase and BiP, but not calnexin, supports an ER organization, which aids in protein maturation and degradation. Based on these studies, we propose a model of tyrosinase degradation in which interactions between N-linked glycans and lectin chaperones help to minimize tyrosinase aggregation and also target non-native substrates for retro-translocation and subsequent degradation.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/daniel_hebert/13/