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p31, the mammalian orthologue of yeast Use1p, is an endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-localized soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein (SNAP) receptor (SNARE) that forms a complex with other SNAREs, particularly syntaxin 18. However, the role of p31 in ER function remains unknown. To determine the role of p31 in vivo, we generated p31 conditional knockout mice. We found that homozygous deletion of the p31 gene led to early embryonic lethality before embryonic day 8.5. Conditional knockout of p31 in brains and mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) caused massive apoptosis accompanied by upregulation of ER stress-associated genes. Microscopic analysis showed vesiculation and subsequent enlargement of the ER membrane in p31-deficient cells. This type of drastic disorganization in the ER tubules has not been demonstrated to date. This marked change in ER structure preceded nuclear translocation of the ER stress-related transcription factor C/EBP homologous protein (CHOP), suggesting that ER stress-induced apoptosis resulted from disruption of the ER membrane structure. Taken together, these results suggest that p31 is an essential molecule involved in the maintenance of ER morphology and that its deficiency leads to ER stress-induced apoptosis.


  • Molecular and Cellular Biology

    Molecular and Cellular Biology 29(7), 1869-1881, 2009-04

    American Society for Microbiology


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