Degradation routes of trafficking-defective VLDLR mutants associated with Dysequilibrium syndrome

Sci Rep. 2018 Jan 25;8(1):1583. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-19053-8.


Low density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) family members are involved in signaling in the developing brain. Previously we have reported that missense mutations in the Very Low Density Lipoprotein Receptor gene (VLDLR), causing Dysequilibrium syndrome (DES), disrupt ligand-binding, due to endoplasmic reticulum (ER) retention of the mutants. We explored the degradation routes of these VLDLR mutants in cultured cells. Our results indicate that VLDLR mutants are retained in the ER for prolonged periods which could be facilitated by association with the ER-resident chaperone calnexin. The mutants were prone to aggregation and capable of eliciting ER stress. The VLDLR mutants were found to be degraded predominantly by the proteasomal pathway, since ubiquitinated VLDLR was found to accumulate in response to proteasomal inhibition. Further, the mutants were found to interact with the ER degradation adaptor protein SEL1L. The degradation of VLDLR wild type and mutant were delayed in CRISPR/Cas9 edited SEL1L knock-out cells which was reversed by exogenous expression of SEL1L. In summary, ER retention of pathogenic VLDLR mutants involves binding to calnexin, elevated ER stress, and delayed degradation which is dependent on SEL1L. Since core LDLR family members share common structural domains, common mechanisms may be involved in their ER processing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Calnexin / metabolism
  • Cerebellar Ataxia / physiopathology*
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability / physiopathology*
  • Mutant Proteins / genetics
  • Mutant Proteins / metabolism*
  • Mutation, Missense
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Transport
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Proteolysis
  • Receptors, LDL / genetics
  • Receptors, LDL / metabolism*


  • Mutant Proteins
  • Proteins
  • Receptors, LDL
  • SEL1L protein, human
  • VLDL receptor
  • Calnexin

Supplementary concepts

  • Dysequilibrium syndrome