The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is a membrane-bound organelle responsible for protein folding, lipid synthesis, and calcium homeostasis. Maintenance of ER structural integrity is crucial for proper function, but much remains to be learned about the molecular players involved. To identify proteins that support the structure of the ER, we performed a proteomic screen and identified nodal modulator (NOMO), a widely conserved type I transmembrane protein of unknown function, with three nearly identical orthologs specified in the human genome. We found that overexpression of NOMO1 imposes a sheet morphology on the ER, whereas depletion of NOMO1 and its orthologs causes a collapse of ER morphology concomitant with the formation of membrane-delineated holes in the ER network positive for the lysosomal marker lysosomal-associated protein 1. In addition, the levels of key players of autophagy including microtubule-associated protein light chain 3 and autophagy cargo receptor p62/sequestosome 1 strongly increase upon NOMO depletion. In vitro reconstitution of NOMO1 revealed a "beads on a string" structure likely representing consecutive immunoglobulin-like domains. Extending NOMO1 by insertion of additional immunoglobulin folds results in a correlative increase in the ER intermembrane distance. Based on these observations and a genetic epistasis analysis including the known ER-shaping proteins Atlastin2 and Climp63, we propose a role for NOMO1 in the functional network of ER-shaping proteins.
Keywords: cell biology; endoplasmic reticulum; imaging; membrane protein; single-particle analysis; structural model.
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