A novel endoplasmic reticulum adaptation is critical for the long-lived Caenorhabditis elegans rpn-10 proteasomal mutant

Meghna N. Chinchankar, William B. Taylor, Su Hyuk Ko, Ellen C. Apple, Karl A. Rodriguez, Lizhen Chen, Alfred L. Fisher

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The loss of proteostasis due to reduced efficiency of protein degradation pathways plays a key role in multiple age-related diseases and is a hallmark of the aging process. Paradoxically, we have previously reported that the Caenorhabditis elegans rpn-10(ok1865) mutant, which lacks the RPN-10/RPN10/PSMD4 subunit of the 19S regulatory particle of the 26S proteasome, exhibits enhanced cytosolic proteostasis, elevated stress resistance and extended lifespan, despite possessing reduced proteasome function. However, the response of this mutant against threats to endoplasmic reticulum (ER) homeostasis and proteostasis was unknown. Here, we find that the rpn-10 mutant is highly ER stress resistant compared to the wildtype. Under unstressed conditions, the ER unfolded protein response (UPR) is activated in the rpn-10 mutant as signified by increased xbp-1 splicing. This primed response appears to alter ER homeostasis through the upregulated expression of genes involved in ER protein quality control (ERQC), including those in the ER-associated protein degradation (ERAD) pathway. Pertinently, we find that ERQC is critical for the rpn-10 mutant longevity. These changes also alter ER proteostasis, as studied using the C. elegans alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency model, which comprises an intestinal ER-localised transgenic reporter of an aggregation-prone form of AAT called ATZ. The rpn-10 mutant shows a significant reduction in the accumulation of the ATZ reporter, thus indicating that its ER proteostasis is augmented. Via a genetic screen for suppressors of decreased ATZ aggregation in the rpn-10 mutant, we then identified ecps-2/H04D03.3, a novel ortholog of the proteasome-associated adaptor and scaffold protein ECM29/ECPAS. We further show that ecps-2 is required for improved ER proteostasis as well as lifespan extension of the rpn-10 mutant. Thus, we propose that ECPS-2-proteasome functional interactions, alongside additional putative molecular processes, contribute to a novel ERQC adaptation which underlies the superior proteostasis and longevity of the rpn-10 mutant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number194957
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Gene Regulatory Mechanisms
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2023


  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Endoplasmic reticulum (ER)
  • Proteasome
  • RPN-10/RPN10/PSMD4

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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