After retrotranslocation from the endoplasmic reticulum to the cytoplasm, calreticulin is modified by the enzyme arginyltransferase-1 (ATE1). Cellular levels of arginylated calreticulin (R-CRT) are regulated in part by the proteasomal system. Under various stress conditions, R-CRT becomes associated with stress granules (SGs) or reaches the plasma membrane (PM), where it participates in pro-apoptotic signaling. The mechanisms underlying the resistance of tumor cells to apoptosis induced by specific drugs remain unclear. We evaluated the regulatory role of R-CRT in apoptosis of human glioma cell lines treated with the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib (BT). Two cell lines (HOG, MO59K) displaying distinctive susceptibility to apoptosis induction were studied further. BT efficiency was found to be correlated with a subcellular distribution of R-CRT. In MO59K (apoptosis-resistant), R-CRT was confined to SGs formed following BT treatment. In contrast, HOG (apoptosis-susceptible) treated with BT showed lower SG formation and higher levels of cytosolic and PM R-CRT. Increased R-CRT level was associated with enhanced mobilization of intracellular Ca2+ and with sustained apoptosis activation via upregulation of cell death receptor DR5. R-CRT overexpression in the cytoplasm of MO59K rendered the cells susceptible to BT-induced, DR5-mediated cell death. Our findings suggest that R-CRT plays an essential role in the effect of BT treatment on tumor cells and that ATE1 is a strong candidate target for future studies of cancer diagnosis and therapy.