Cells have a variety of strategies for dealing with misfolded proteins. Heat shock response involves transcriptional induction of chaperones to promote and/or correct folding, and also activation of the ubiquitin/proteasome system to degrade defective proteins. In the secretory pathway, it is primarily luminal misfolded or unassembled proteins that trigger the unfolded protein response which, like heat shock, induces chaperones and components of the ER-associated degradation (ERAD) pathway. To understand cellular response to a misfolded polytopic membrane protein of the secretory pathway, we studied Pma1-D378S, a model ERAD substrate. Expression of misfolded Pma1 induces heat shock response in the absence of increased temperature. Overexpression of HSF1, the transcription factor that mediates heat shock response, increases degradation of Pma1-D378S without temperature upshift. Nevertheless, efficient Pma1-D378S degradation occurs in an hsf1 mutant that maintains basal transcription levels but cannot mediate transcriptional activation. Thus, heat shock protein induction enhances but is not necessary for ERAD. The cytoplasmic Hsp70 chaperone Ssa1 is required for ERAD of both Pma1-D378S and another transmembrane ERAD substrate, Ste6*. In the absence of Ssa chaperones, ubiquitination of both substrates is impaired, resulting in stabilization. We suggest a role for Hsp70 cytoplasmic chaperones in recognition by the ER-associated ubiquitination machinery.
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