Endoplasmic Reticulum-Associated Protein Quality Control and Degradation

Screen for ERAD Mutants After Ethylmethane Sulfonate Mutagenesis
  • Antje Schäfer
  • Dieter H. Wolf
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology™ book series (MIMB, volume 301)


Proteins destined for secretion in eukaryotic cells enter the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) in an unfolded state and are properly folded in this organelle and sent to their final destination. Misfolded or orphan proteins are retained in the ER by a quality control system, retrotranslocated into the cytosol and degraded. Soluble and membrane proteins were found to require a basic machinery for elimination. It is composed of (1) the E1 (ubiquitin activating), E2 (ubiquitin conjugating), and E3 (ubiquitin ligase) enzymes, which polyubiquitinate the substrate proteins during retrotranslocation; (2) the trimeric AAA-ATPase complex Cdc48-Ufd1-Npl4p, which liberates the polyubiquitinated proteins from the ER; and (3) the 26S proteasome, finally degrading the misfolded proteins. Additional components for degradation of soluble or membrane proteins may vary depending on the nature of malfolded proteins (1). It is therefore of utmost importance to gain insight into the different components of the ER protein quality control and degradation system required for the elimination of the substrate variety. Protein quality control of the ER and subsequent degradation are evolutionarily highly conserved from yeast to human. The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is therefore an elegant model organism for a search of new components of the ER quality control and degradation machinery, because it is easily amenable to genetic and molecular biological experimentation.

In this chapter, a genetic approach is presented, which leads to the isolation of mutants and to the identification of proteins involved in protein quality control and ER-associated degradation (ERAD). The method resides in ethylmethane sulfonate (EMS) mutagenesis of a yeast strain followed by screening for stabilization of soluble ERAD substrates, two mutated and consequently malfolded vacuolar enzymes, carboxypeptidase yscY (CPY*) and proteinase yscA (PrA*). Both malfolded proteins are retained in the ER lumen and become substrates of the ERAD machinery (2, 3).

Key Words

Endoplasmic reticulum endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation mutants mutant screen protein quality control yeast genetics 



The authors thank Fatima Cvrcková and Kim Nasmyth for the CEN-LEU2 library. Andreas Finger for developing the screen and his excellent protocols. We also want to thank Sonja Dieter for helpful comments and Wolfgang Heinemeyer for critical reading. The work was supported by grants from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Bonn, Germany) and the Fonds der Chemischen Industrie (Frankfurt, Germany).


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antje Schäfer
    • 1
  • Dieter H. Wolf
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für BiochemieUniversität StuttgartStuttgartGermany

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