The lumen of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) provides a unique folding environment that is distinct from other organelles supporting protein folding. The relatively oxidizing milieu allows the formation of disulfide bonds. N-linked oligosaccharides that are attached during synthesis play multiple roles in the folding process of glycoproteins. They stabilize folded domains and increase protein solubility, which prevents aggregation of folding intermediates. Glycans mediate the interaction of newly synthesized glycoproteins with some resident ER folding factors, such as calnexin and calreticulin. Here we present an overview of the present knowledge on the folding process of the heavily glycosylated human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) envelope glycoprotein in the ER.
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