• Authors: Christodoulou, A., Santarella-Mellwig, R., Santama, N., Mattaj, I. W.
  • Year: 2016
  • Journal: J Cell Sci 129 1552-65
  • Applications: in vitro / siRNA / INTERFERin
  • Cell type: HeLa
    Description: Human cervix epitheloid carcinoma cells


20 nM siRNA.


The mechanism of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) morphogenesis is incompletely understood. ER tubules are shaped by the reticulons (RTNs) and DP1/Yop1p family members, but the mechanism of ER sheet formation is much less clear. Here, we characterize TMEM170A, a human transmembrane protein, which localizes in ER and nuclear envelope membranes. Silencing or overexpressing TMEM170A in HeLa K cells alters ER shape and morphology. Ultrastructural analysis reveals that downregulation of TMEM170A specifically induces tubular ER formation, whereas overexpression of TMEM170A induces ER sheet formation, indicating that TMEM170A is a newly discovered ER-sheet-promoting protein. Additionally, downregulation of TMEM170A alters nuclear shape and size, decreases the density of nuclear pore complexes (NPCs) in the nuclear envelope and causes either a reduction in inner nuclear membrane (INM) proteins or their relocalization to the ER. TMEM170A interacts with RTN4, a member of the reticulon family; simultaneous co-silencing of TMEM170A and RTN4 rescues ER, NPC and nuclear-envelope-related phenotypes, implying that the two proteins have antagonistic effects on ER membrane organization, and nuclear envelope and NPC formation.