PloS one

Derlin-1 deficiency is embryonic lethal, Derlin-3 deficiency appears normal, and Herp deficiency is intolerant to glucose load and ischemia in mice.

PMID 22479592


Accumulation of unfolded or misfolded proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) causes a cellular condition called ER stress. To overcome ER stress, unfolded proteins are eliminated by an ER-associated degradation (ERAD) system. To explore the physiological requirements for ERAD-related membrane proteins in mammals, we generated Derlin-1-, Derlin-3-, and Herp-deficient mice by gene targeting. Complete loss of Derlin-1 caused embryonic lethality at around E7-E8 (early somite stages). In contrast, Derlin-3- and Herp-deficient mice were born alive with the expected Mendelian frequency, and were superficially indistinguishable from wild-type mice. However, in the Derlin-3- and Herp-deficient mouse organs, the expression levels of ERAD-related proteins were affected under both normal and ER stress conditions; specific effects differed among the organs. Degradation of ERAD substrates was reduced in the Herp-deficient liver, and Herp-deficient mice exhibited impaired glucose tolerance and vulnerability to brain ischemic injury, both of which are known to be implicated in ER stress. Our findings indicate that ERAD or uncharacterized functions involving Derlin-1 are essential in early embryonic development. Derlin-3- and Herp-deficient mice may become useful model animals for investigations of the physiological contribution of ERAD under stressful or pathological conditions.