A trap mutant reveals the physiological client spectrum of TRC40

J Cell Sci. 2019 Jul 1;132(13):jcs230094. doi: 10.1242/jcs.230094.


The transmembrane recognition complex (TRC) pathway targets tail-anchored (TA) proteins to the membrane of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). While many TA proteins are known to be able to use this pathway, it is essential for the targeting of only a few. Here, we uncover a large number of TA proteins that engage with TRC40 when other targeting machineries are fully operational. We use a dominant-negative ATPase-impaired mutant of TRC40 in which aspartate 74 was replaced by a glutamate residue to trap TA proteins in the cytoplasm. Manipulation of the hydrophobic TA-binding groove in TRC40 (also known as ASNA1) reduces interaction with most, but not all, substrates suggesting that co-purification may also reflect interactions unrelated to precursor protein targeting. We confirm known TRC40 substrates and identify many additional TA proteins interacting with TRC40. By using the trap approach in combination with quantitative mass spectrometry, we show that Golgi-resident TA proteins such as the golgins golgin-84, CASP and giantin as well as the vesicle-associated membrane-protein-associated proteins VAPA and VAPB interact with TRC40. Thus, our results provide new avenues to assess the essential role of TRC40 in metazoan organisms.This article has an associated First Person interview with the first author of the paper.

Keywords: Chaperone; Client spectrum; Endoplasmic reticulum; Membrane targeting; TRC40; Tail-anchored protein.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arsenite Transporting ATPases / genetics*
  • Arsenite Transporting ATPases / metabolism
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism
  • Gene Silencing
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Interactions
  • Models, Biological
  • Mutation / genetics*
  • Protein Binding
  • Subcellular Fractions / metabolism
  • Substrate Specificity


  • GET3 protein, human
  • Arsenite Transporting ATPases