ERAS Is Constitutively Expressed in the Tissues of Adult Horses and May Be a Key Player in Basal Autophagy

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ERas is a new gene of the Ras family found in murine embryonic stem (ES) cells. Its human ortholog is not expressed in human ES cells. So far ERas gene has only been found to be expressed in the tissues of adult cynomolgus monkeys and cattle; however, information about ERAS expression or its potential functions in equine tissues is lacking. This study was performed to investigate whether Eras is an equine functional gene and whether ERAS is expressed in the tissues of adult horses and determine its potential physiological role. Expression of the ERas gene was detected in all examined adult tissues, and the RT-PCR assay revealed ERAS transcripts. Protein expression was also detected by Western blot analysis. Quantitative real time RT-qPCR analysis revealed that different expression levels of ERAS transcripts were most highly expressed in the testis. Immunohistochemically, ERAS was found to be localized prevalently in the plasmatic membrane as well as cytoplasm of the cells. ERAS was a physical partner of activated PDGFβR leading to the AKT signaling. ERAS was found to interact with a network of proteins (BAG3, CHIP, Hsc70/Hsp70, HspB8, Synpo2, and p62) known to play a role in the chaperone-assisted selective autophagy (CASA), which is also known as BAG3-mediated selective macroautophagy, an adaptive mechanism to maintain cellular homeostasis. Furthermore, ERAS was found to interact with parkin. PINK1, BNIP3, laforin. All these proteins are known to play a role in parkin-dependent and -independent mitophagy. This is the first study demonstrating that Eras is a functional gene, and that ERAS is constitutively expressed in the tissues of adult horses. ERAS appears to play a physiological role in cellular proteostasis maintenance, thus mitigating the proteotoxicity of accumulated misfolded proteins and contributing to protection against disease. Finally, it is conceivable that activation of AKT pathway by PDGFRs promotes actin reorganization, directed cell movements, stimulation of cell growth.

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Frontiers in veterinary science

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