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ERp29, a general endoplasmic reticulum marker, is highly expressed throughout the brain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle



Jennifer C MacLeod, Rod J Sayer, John M Lucocq, Michael J Hubbard

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ERp29 is a recently discovered resident of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) that is abundant in brain and most other mammalian tissues. Investigations of nonneural secretory tissues have implicated ERp29 in a major role producing export proteins, but a molecular activity remains wanting for this functional orphan. Intriguingly, ERp29 appears to be heavily utilized in the cerebellum, a brain region not conventionally regarded as neurosecretory. To elucidate this functional quandary, we used immunochemical approaches to characterize the regional, cellular, and subcellular distributions of ERp29 in rat brain. Immunohistochemistry revealed ubiquitous expression in neuronal and nonneuronal cells, with a distinctive variation in somatic ERp29 levels. Highly expressing cells were found in diverse locations, implying that ERp29 is not biased towards the cerebellum functionally. Using immunolocalization data mined from the literature, a proteomic profile was developed to assess the functional significance of ERp29's characteristic expression pattern. Surprisingly, ERp29 correlated poorly with classical markers of neurosecretion, but strongly with a variety of major membrane proteins. Together with immunogold localization of ERp29 to somatic ER, these observations led to a novel hypothesis that ERp29 is involved primarily in production of endomembrane proteins rather than proteins destined for export. This study establishes ERp29 as a general ER marker for brain cells and provides a stimulating clue about ERp29's enigmatic function. ERp29 appears to have broad significance for neural pathophysiology, given its ubiquitous distribution and prominence in brain over classical ER residents like BiP and protein disulfide isomerase.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-42
Number of pages14
JournalThe Journal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sep 2004

    Research areas

  • Animals, Biological Markers, Brain, Endoplasmic Reticulum, Heat-Shock Proteins, Immunoblotting, Immunohistochemistry, Male, Microscopy, Immunoelectron, Neurons, Protein Array Analysis, Rats, Rats, Sprague-Dawley, Subcellular Fractions

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