Proteostasis Regulation in the Endoplasmic Reticulum: An Emerging Theme in the Molecular Pathology and Therapeutic Management of Familial Hypercholesterolemia

Deepu Oommen, Praseetha Kizhakkedath, Aseel A. Jawabri, Divya Saro Varghese, Bassam R. Ali

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is an autosomal genetic disease characterized by high serum low-density lipoprotein (LDL) content leading to premature coronary artery disease. The main genetic and molecular causes of FH are mutations in low-density lipoprotein receptor gene (LDLR) resulting in the non-clearance of LDL from the blood by hepatocytes and consequently the formation of plaques. LDLR is synthesized and glycosylated in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and then transported to the plasma membrane via Golgi. It is estimated that more than 50% of reported FH-causing mutations in LDLR result in misfolded proteins that are transport-defective and hence retained in ER. ER accumulation of misfolded proteins causes ER-stress and activates unfolded protein response (UPR). UPR aids protein folding, blocks further protein synthesis, and eliminates misfolded proteins via ER-associated degradation (ERAD) to alleviate ER stress. Various studies demonstrated that ER-retained LDLR mutants are subjected to ERAD. Interestingly, chemical chaperones and genetic or pharmacological inhibition of ERAD have been reported to rescue the transport defective mutant LDLR alleles from ERAD and restore their ER-Golgi transport resulting in the expression of functional plasma membrane LDLR. This suggests the possibility of pharmacological modulation of proteostasis in the ER as a therapeutic strategy for FH. In this review, we picture a detailed analysis of UPR and the ERAD processes activated by ER-retained LDLR mutants associated with FH. In addition, we discuss and critically evaluate the potential role of chemical chaperones and ERAD modulators in the therapeutic management of FH.

Original languageEnglish
Article number570355
JournalFrontiers in Genetics
Publication statusPublished - Sept 23 2020


  • Class II mutations
  • ER stress
  • ERAD pathway
  • LDLR
  • cholesterol
  • familial hypercholesterolemia
  • lipid metabolism
  • unfolded protein response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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