The protein folding and lipid moiety status of glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored proteins (GPI-APs) are monitored in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), with calnexin playing dual roles in the maturation of GPI-APs. In the present study, we investigated the functions of calnexin in the quality control and lipid remodeling of GPI-APs in the ER. By directly binding the N-glycan on proteins, calnexin was observed to efficiently retain GPI-APs in the ER until they were correctly folded. In addition, sufficient ER retention time was crucial for GPI-inositol deacylation, which is mediated by post-GPI attachment protein 1 (PGAP1). Once the calnexin/calreticulin cycle was disrupted, misfolded and inositol-acylated GPI-APs could not be retained in the ER and were exposed on the plasma membrane. In calnexin/calreticulin-deficient cells, endogenous GPI-anchored alkaline phosphatase was expressed on the cell surface, but its activity was significantly decreased. ER stress induced surface expression of misfolded GPI-APs, but proper GPI-inositol deacylation occurred due to the extended time that they were retained in the ER. Our results indicate that calnexin-mediated ER quality control systems for GPI-APs are necessary for both protein folding and GPI-inositol deacylation.
Keywords: ER quality control; Endoplasmic reticulum; endoplasmic reticulum (ER); glycobiology; glycosylphosphatidylinositol; glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI anchor); lipid remodeling; protein folding.
© 2020 Guo et al.