The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is a dominant metabolic compartment in the maintenance of intracellular homeostasis and plays a decisive role in adaptation to changes of the extra- and intracellular environment. Various stressors (e.g. disturbances of intracellular calcium balance, hypoglycaemia, hypoxia, altered redox homeostasis, virus infection) affect the protein folding in the ER lumen, resulting in an accumulation of unfolded proteins. They cause the activation of ER specific signaling pathways called unfolded protein response (UPR). Activated UPR pathways have been demonstrated in various diseases the etiology of which is totally different (diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, hepatitis etc), therefore, UPR represents a common pathomechanism. Understanding of ER stress related events can open new perspectives to improve the current therapy.
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