Mutation of the ER retention receptor KDELR1 leads to cell-intrinsic lymphopenia and a failure to control chronic viral infection.
Siggs OM., Popkin DL., Krebs P., Li X., Tang M., Zhan X., Zeng M., Lin P., Xia Y., Oldstone MBA., Cornall RJ., Beutler B.
Endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-resident proteins are continually retrieved from the Golgi and returned to the ER by Lys-Asp-Glu-Leu (KDEL) receptors, which bind to an eponymous tetrapeptide motif at their substrate's C terminus. Mice and humans possess three paralogous KDEL receptors, but little is known about their functional redundancy, or if their mutation can be physiologically tolerated. Here, we present a recessive mouse missense allele of the prototypical mammalian KDEL receptor, KDEL ER protein retention receptor 1 (KDELR1). Kdelr1 homozygous mutants were mildly lymphopenic, as were mice with a CRISPR/Cas9-engineered frameshift allele. Lymphopenia was cell intrinsic and, in the case of T cells, was associated with reduced expression of the T-cell receptor (TCR) and increased expression of CD44, and could be partially corrected by an MHC class I-restricted TCR transgene. Antiviral immunity was also compromised, with Kdelr1 mutant mice unable to clear an otherwise self-limiting viral infection. These data reveal a nonredundant cellular function for KDELR1, upon which lymphocytes distinctly depend.