Assays to Study IRE1 Activation and Signaling

Moraga, P; Aravena, R.; Urra H.; Hetz C.


The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress sensor IRE1 is a a major player of the unfolded protein response (UPR), the main pathway driving adaptation processes to restore proteostasis. In addition, overactivation of IRE1 signaling contributes to a variety of pathologies including diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, and cancer. Under ER stress, IRE1 auto-transphosphorylates and oligomerizes, triggering the activation of its endoribonuclease domain located in the cytosolic region. Active IRE1 catalyzes the splicing of the mRNA encoding for the XBP1 transcription factor, in addition to degrade several RNAs through a process known as regulated IRE1-dependent decay of mRNA (RIDD). Besides its role as an UPR transducer, several posttranslational modifications and protein-protein interactions can regulate IRE1 activity and modulate its signaling in the absence of stress. Thus, investigating the function of IRE1 in physiology and disease requires the use of complementary approaches. Here, we provide detailed protocols to perform four different assays to study IRE1 activation and signaling: (i) Phos-tag gels to evaluate the phosphorylation status of IRE1, (ii) microscopy using TREX-IRE1-GFP cells to measure IRE1 oligomerization, (iii) conventional RT-PCR to assess XBP1 mRNA processing, and (iv) quantitative PCR to determine the levels of canonical UPR target genes and the degradation of several mRNAs that are target of RIDD. We propose to use these experimental strategies as "gold standards" to study IRE1 signaling.

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Editorial: SPRINGER protocols
Fecha de publicación: 2022
Idioma: Ingles