Polypeptides that fail to pass quality control in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) are dislocated from the ER membrane to the cytosol where they are degraded by the proteasome. Derlin-1, a member of a family of proteins that bears homology to yeast Der1p, was identified as a factor that is required for the human cytomegalovirus US11-mediated dislocation of class I MHC heavy chains from the ER membrane to the cytosol. Derlin-1 acts in concert with the AAA ATPase p97 to remove dislocation substrate proteins from the ER membrane, but it is unknown whether other factors aid Derlin-1 in its function. Mammalian genomes encode two additional, related proteins (Derlin-2 and Derlin-3). The similarity of the mammalian Derlin-2 and Derlin-3 proteins to yeast Der1p suggested that these as-yet-uncharacterized Derlins also may play a role in ER protein degradation. We demonstrate here that Derlin-2 is an ER-resident protein that, similar to Derlin-1, participates in the degradation of proteins from the ER. Furthermore, we show that Derlin-2 forms a robust multiprotein complex with the p97 AAA ATPase as well as the mammalian orthologs of the yeast Hrd1p/Hrd3p ubiquitin-ligase complex. The data presented here define a set of interactions between proteins involved in dislocation of misfolded polypeptides from the ER.
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