Endoplasmic Reticulum: An Interface Between the Immune System and Metabolism

  1. Fumihiko Urano1,2
  1. 1Department of Pathology and Immunology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO
  2. 2Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism, and Lipid Research, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO
  1. Corresponding author: Fumihiko Urano, urano{at}

Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is a busy cell organelle that participates in many important cellular tasks. It has been established that ER is involved in protein and lipid biosynthesis, calcium regulation, redox regulation, cell signaling, and cell death. Given the many vital and complex functions of ER, there is little wonder that its failure can trigger a range of diseases. Recent genetic and clinical evidence indicates that inherited or acquired dysregulation of ER homeostasis can give rise to genetic diseases, including Wolfram syndrome (which is characterized by juvenile-onset diabetes and neurodegeneration) and a number of common metabolic diseases including diabetes and atherosclerosis. Accelerating interest in the role of ER in metabolic disease has been fueled by recent reports showing pathways that link ER to inflammation. The role of ER as an interface between the immune system and metabolism is an emerging concept (Fig. 1). However, …

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