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Received May 5, 2022; Revised June 28, 2022; Accepted June 30, 2022
Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is a multifunctional membrane-enclosed organelle. One of the major ER functions is cotranslational transport and processing of secretory, lysosomal, and transmembrane proteins. Impaired protein processing caused by disturbances in the ER homeostasis results in the ER stress. Restoration of normal ER functioning requires activation of an adaptive mechanism involving cell response to misfolded proteins, the so-called unfolded protein response (UPR). Besides controlling protein folding, UPR plays a key role in other physiological processes, in particular, differentiation of cells of connective, muscle, epithelial, and neural tissues. Cell differentiation is induced by the physiological levels of ER stress, while excessive ER stress suppresses differentiation and can result in cell death. So far, it remains unknown whether UPR activation induces cell differentiation or if UPR is initiated by the upregulated synthesis of secretory proteins during cell differentiation. Cell differentiation is an important stage in the development of multicellular organisms and is tightly controlled. Suppression or excessive activation of this process can lead to the development of various pathologies in an organism. In particular, impairments in the differentiation of connective tissue cells can result in the development of fibrosis, obesity, and osteoporosis. Recently, special attention has been paid to fibrosis as one of the major complications of COVID-19. Therefore, studying the role of UPR in the activation of cell differentiation is of both theoretical and practical interest, as it might result in the identification of molecular targets for selective regulation of cell differentiation stages and as well as the potential to modulate the mechanisms involved in the development of various pathological states.
KEY WORDS: endoplasmic reticulum, cell differentiation, endoplasmic reticulum stress, unfolded protein response, myofibroblasts, fibrosis, adipogenesis, myogenesis, osteoblastogenesis, osteoclastogenesis