KDEL receptor helps establish cellular equilibrium in the early secretory pathway by recycling leaked ER-chaperones to the ER during secretion of newly synthesized proteins. Studies have also shown that KDEL receptor may function as a signaling protein that orchestrates membrane flux through the secretory pathway. We have recently shown that KDEL receptor is also a cell surface receptor, which undergoes highly complex itinerary between trans-Golgi network and the plasma membranes via clathrin-mediated transport carriers. Ironically, however, it is still largely unknown how KDEL receptor is distributed to the Golgi at steady state, since its initial discovery in late 1980s.
We used a proximity-based in vivo tagging strategy to further dissect mechanisms of KDEL receptor trafficking. Our new results reveal that ACBD3 may be a key protein that regulates KDEL receptor trafficking via modulation of Arf1-dependent tubule formation. We demonstrate that ACBD3 directly interact with KDEL receptor and form a functionally distinct protein complex in ArfGAPs-independent manner. Depletion of ACBD3 results in re-localization of KDEL receptor to the ER by inducing accelerated retrograde trafficking of KDEL receptor. Importantly, this is caused by specifically altering KDEL receptor interaction with Protein Kinase A and Arf1/ArfGAP1, eventually leading to increased Arf1-GTP-dependent tubular carrier formation at the Golgi.
These results suggest that ACBD3 may function as a negative regulator of PKA activity on KDEL receptor, thereby restricting its retrograde trafficking in the absence of KDEL ligand binding. Since ACBD3 was originally identified as PAP7, a PBR/PKA-interacting protein at the Golgi/mitochondria, we propose that Golgi-localization of KDEL receptor is likely to be controlled by its interaction with ACBD3/PKA complex at steady state, providing a novel insight for establishment of cellular homeostasis in the early secretory pathway.