How to design an optimal sensor network for the unfolded protein response

How to design an optimal sensor network for the unfolded protein response

Abstract

Cellular protein homeostasis requires continuous monitoring of stress in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Stress-detection networks control protein homeostasis by mitigating the deleterious effects of protein accumulation, such as aggregation and misfolding, with precise modulation of chaperone production. Here, we develop a coarse model of the unfolded protein response in yeast and use multi-objective optimization to determine which sensing and activation strategies optimally balance the trade-off between unfolded protein accumulation and chaperone production. By comparing a stress-sensing mechanism that responds directly to the level of unfolded protein in the ER to a mechanism that is negatively regulated by unbound chaperones, we show that chaperone-mediated sensors are more efficient than sensors that detect unfolded proteins directly. This results from the chaperone-mediated sensor having separate thresholds for activation and deactivation. Finally, we demonstrate that a sensor responsive to both unfolded protein and unbound chaperone does not further optimize homeostatic control. Our results suggest a strategy for designing stress sensors and may explain why BiP-mitigated ER stress-sensing networks have evolved.

Publication
MOLECULAR BIOLOGY OF THE CELL 29, 3052-3062