X box binding protein 1 (XBP-1) is a key protein in the mammalian unfolded protein response (UPR) that protects the cell against the stress of malfolded proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) . Upon sensing unfolded proteins, an ER transmembrane endonuclease and kinase termed IRE1p is activated and excises an intron from XBP-1 mRNA. The spliced XBP-1 mRNA results in a 371 amino acid protein (XBP-1s) which is then translocated to the nucleus where it binds to the regulatory elements of downstream genes. Together with other UPR transcription factors such as ATF6, XBP-1 stimulates the production of ER stress proteins including the ER resident protein chaperones glucose regulated protein (GRP) 78 and GRP94 (3,4).
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