Coordination of stress, Ca2+, and immunogenic signaling pathways by PERK at the endoplasmic reticulum

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The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is the main coordinator of intracellular Ca2+ signaling, protein synthesis, and folding. The ER is also implicated in the formation of contact sites with other organelles and structures, including mitochondria, plasma membrane (PM), and endosomes, thereby orchestrating through interorganelle signaling pathways, a variety of cellular responses including Ca2+ homeostasis, metabolism, and cell death signaling. Upon loss of its folding capacity, incited by a number of stress signals including those elicited by various anticancer therapies, the unfolded protein response (UPR) is launched to restore ER homeostasis. The ER stress sensor protein kinase RNA-like ER kinase (PERK) is a key mediator of the UPR and its role during ER stress has been largely recognized. However, growing evidence suggests that PERK may govern signaling pathways through UPR-independent functions. Here, we discuss emerging noncanonical roles of PERK with particular relevance for the induction of danger or immunogenic signaling and interorganelle communication.

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