Squaring the EMC - how promoting membrane protein biogenesis impacts cellular functions and organismal homeostasis.
Volkmar N., Christianson JC.
Integral membrane proteins play key functional roles at organelles and the plasma membrane, necessitating their efficient and accurate biogenesis to ensure appropriate targeting and activity. The endoplasmic reticulum membrane protein complex (EMC) has recently emerged as an important eukaryotic complex for biogenesis of integral membrane proteins by promoting insertion and stability of atypical and sub-optimal transmembrane domains (TMDs). Although confirmed as a bona fide complex almost a decade ago, light is just now being shed on the mechanism and selectivity underlying the cellular responsibilities of the EMC. In this Review, we revisit the myriad of functions attributed the EMC through the lens of these new mechanistic insights, to address questions of the cellular and organismal roles the EMC has evolved to undertake.