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When proteins are formed inside cells they have to fold in the correct 3D structures to function correctly. Too many misfolded proteins can be toxic to the cell, so there are molecular mechanisms that help to clear away potentially dangerous protein forms.

A new study in Journal of Cell Science from John Christianson’s group at Ludwig Oxford has identified a specific domain in protein called Hrd1 that is crucial for the clearance machinery in the endoplasmic reticulum.