The intestinal tract is covered by a total of 300 square metres of IECs (intestinal epithelial cells) that covers the entire intestinal mucosa. For protection against luminal xenobiotics, pathogens and commensal microbes, these IECs are equipped with membrane-bound transporters as well as the ability to secrete specific protective proteins. In patients with active IBD (inflammatory bowel disease), the expression of these proteins, e.g. ABC (ATP-binding cassette) transporters such as ABCG2 (ABC transporter G2) and defensins, is decreased, thereby limiting the protection against various luminal threats. Correct ER (endoplasmic reticulum)-dependent protein folding is essential for the localization and function of secreted and membrane-bound proteins. Inflammatory triggers, such as cytokines and nitric oxide, can impede protein folding, which causes the accumulation of unfolded proteins inside the ER. As a result, the unfolded protein response is activated which can lead to a cellular process named ER stress. The protein folding impairment affects the function and localization of several proteins, including those involved in protection against xenobiotics. In the present review, we discuss the possible inflammatory pathways affecting protein folding and eventually leading to IEC malfunction in patients with active IBD. ©The Authors Journal compilation

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Keywords Endoplasmic reticulum stress (ER stress), Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Intestinal epithelial cell, Protein misfolding, Unfolded protein response (UPR), Xenobiotic
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Journal Biochemical Society Transactions
Deuring, J.J, Peppelenbosch, M.P, Kuipers, E.J, van der Woude, C.J, & de Haar, C. (2011). Impeded protein folding and function in active inflammatory bowel disease. Biochemical Society Transactions, 39(4), 1107–1111. doi:10.1042/BST0391107