Endoplasmic Reticulum redox pathways: in sickness and in health

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The Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER) is the major site for secretory protein production in eukaryotic cells and like an efficient factory, it has the capacity to expand or contract its output depending on the demand for its services. A primary function of the ER is to co-ordinate the quality control of proteins as they enter this folding factory at the base of the secretory pathway. Reduction–oxidation (redox) reactions have an important role to play in the quality control process, through the provision of disulphide bonds and by maintaining a favourable redox environment for oxidative protein folding. The ER is also a major contributor to calcium homeostasis and is a key site for lipid biosynthesis, two processes that additionally impact upon, and are influenced by, redox in the ER compartment.

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