Structure of the HECT:ubiquitin complex and its role in ubiquitin chain elongation
Analysis of ubiquitin binding to the HECT domain of Nedd4 suggests that the ubiquitin chain being elongated is kept close to the catalytic cysteine to promote processivity. Together with the accompanying paper by the Huibregtse group, this study shows the catalysis of polyubiquitin chains by HECT E3 ligases.
Several mechanisms have been proposed for the synthesis of substrate-linked ubiquitin chains. HECT ligases directly catalyse protein ubiquitination and have been found to non-covalently interact with ubiquitin. We report crystal structures of the Nedd4 HECT domain, alone and in complex with ubiquitin, which show a new binding mode involving two surfaces on ubiquitin and both subdomains of the HECT N-lobe. The structures suggest a model for HECT-to-substrate ubiquitin transfer, in which the growing chain on the substrate is kept close to the catalytic cysteine to promote processivity. Mutational analysis highlights differences between the processes of substrate polyubiquitination and self-ubiquitination.
catalysis; E3 ligase; polyubiquitination; structure; ubiquitin
The HERC gene family encodes proteins with two characteristic domains: HECT and RCC1-like. Proteins with HECT domains have been described to function as ubiquitin ligases, and those that contain RCC1-like domains have been reported to function as GTPases regulators. These two activities are essential in a number of important cellular processes such as cell cycle, cell signaling, and membrane trafficking. Mutations affecting these domains have been found associated with retinitis pigmentosa, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and cancer. In humans, six HERC genes have been reported which encode two subgroups of HERC proteins: large (HERC1-2) and small (HERC3-6). The giant HERC1 protein was the first to be identified. It has been involved in membrane trafficking and cell proliferation/growth through its interactions with clathrin, M2-pyruvate kinase, and TSC2 proteins. Mutations affecting other members of the HERC family have been found to be associated with sterility and growth retardation. Here, we report the characterization of a recessive mutation named tambaleante, which causes progressive Purkinje cell degeneration leading to severe ataxia with reduced growth and lifespan in homozygous mice aged over two months. We mapped this mutation in mouse chromosome 9 and then performed positional cloning. We found a G⇔A transition at position 1448, causing a Gly to Glu substitution (Gly483Glu) in the highly conserved N-terminal RCC1-like domain of the HERC1 protein. Successful transgenic rescue, with either a mouse BAC containing the normal copy of Herc1 or with the human HERC1 cDNA, validated our findings. Histological and biochemical studies revealed extensive autophagy associated with an increase of the mutant protein level and a decrease of mTOR activity. Our observations concerning this first mutation in the Herc1 gene contribute to the functional annotation of the encoded E3 ubiquitin ligase and underline the crucial and unexpected role of this protein in Purkinje cell physiology.
The cerebellum is a coordination center whose function is to fine-tune vertebrates' gait and balance; and for this reason, alterations or damage affecting this structure result in a complex syndrome, called ataxia, with neurological signs that are easily recognized. In the mouse, many mutations producing ataxia have been identified and characterized. They have contributed to a better understanding of the genetics of cerebellum development, physiology, and pathology. The present study identifies the recessive allele responsible for the progressive and massive degeneration of the Purkinje cells observed in mutant mice previously named tambaleante. The mutation leads to a single amino acid substitution in a highly conserved domain (RCC1-like) of the giant protein HERC1. This protein belongs to the families HECT (E3 ubiquitin ligases) and RCC1 (GTPases regulators). While a variety of mutations have been reported in several members of these families, leading to sterility, growth retardation, retinitis pigmentosa, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or cancer, no mutation had ever been reported so far in the mouse Herc1 gene. This report demonstrates the crucial and unexpected role of HERC1 in Purkinje cell physiology that could be considered helpful in the development of new therapeutic strategies for neurodegenerative disorders.
The XPA (Xeroderma pigmentosum A) protein is one of the six core factors of the human nucleotide excision repair system. In this study we show that XPA is a rate-limiting factor in all human cell lines tested, including a normal human fibroblast cell line. The level of XPA is controlled at the transcriptional level by the molecular circadian clock and at the post-translational level by a HECT domain family E3 ubiquitin ligase called HERC2. Stabilization of XPA by downregulation of HERC2 moderately enhances excision repair activity. Conversely, downregulation of XPA by siRNA reduces excision repair activity in proportion to the level of XPA. Ubiquitination and proteolysis of XPA are inhibited by DNA damage that promotes tight association of the protein with chromatin and its dissociation from the HERC2 E3 ligase. Finally, in agreement with a recent report, we find that XPA is post-translationally modified by acetylation. However, contrary to the previous claim, we find that in mouse liver only a small fraction of XPA is acetylated and that downregulation of SIRT1 deacetylase in two human cell lines does not affect the overall repair rate. Collectively, the data reveal that XPA is a limiting factor in excision repair and that its level is coordinately regulated by the circadian clock, the ubiquitin–proteasome system and DNA damage.
RSP5, an essential gene of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, encodes a hect domain E3 ubiquitin-protein ligase. Hect E3 proteins have been proposed to consist of two broad functional domains: a conserved catalytic carboxyl-terminal domain of approximately 350 amino acids (the hect domain) and a large, nonconserved amino-terminal domain containing determinants of substrate specificity. We report here the mapping of the minimal region of Rsp5 necessary for its essential in vivo function, the minimal region necessary to stably interact with a substrate of Rsp5 (Rpb1, the large subunit of RNA polymerase II), and the finding that the hect domain, by itself, is sufficient for formation of the ubiquitin-thioester intermediate. Mutations within the hect domain that affect either the ability to form a ubiquitin-thioester or to catalyze substrate ubiquitination abrogate in vivo function, strongly suggesting that the ubiquitin-protein ligase activity of Rsp5 is intrinsically linked to its essential function. The amino-terminal region of Rsp5 contains three WW domains and a C2 calcium-binding domain. Two of the three WW domains are required for the essential in vivo function, while the C2 domain is not, and requirements for Rpb1 binding and ubiquitination lie within the region required for in vivo function. Together, these results support the two-domain model for hect E3 function and indicate that the WW domains play a role in the recognition of at least some of the substrates of Rsp5, including those related to its essential function. In addition, we show that haploid yeast strains bearing complete disruptions of either of two other hect E3 genes of yeast, designated HUL4 (YJR036C) and HUL5 (YGL141W), are viable.
Proteomic identification of human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV16) E6-interacting proteins revealed several proteins involved in ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis. In addition to the well-characterized E6AP ubiquitin-protein ligase, a second HECT domain protein (HERC2) and a deubiquitylating enzyme (USP15) were identified by tandem affinity purification of HPV16 E6-associated proteins. This study focuses on the functional consequences of the interaction of E6 with USP15. Overexpression of USP15 resulted in increased levels of the E6 protein, and the small interfering RNA-mediated knockdown of USP15 decreased E6 protein levels. These results implicate USP15 directly in the regulation of E6 protein stability and suggest that ubiquitylated E6 could be a substrate for USP15 ubiquitin peptidase activity. It remains possible that E6 could affect the activity of USP15 on specific cellular substrates, a hypothesis that can be tested as more is learned about the substrates and pathways controlled by USP15.
Polyubiquitination can mediate several different biochemical functions, determined in part by which lysine of ubiquitin is used to link the polyubiquitin chain. Among the HECT domain ubiquitin ligases, some, such as human E6AP, preferentially catalyze the formation of K48-linked polyubiquitin chains, while others, including Saccharomyces cerevisiae Rsp5 and human Itch, preferentially catalyze the formation of K63-linked chains. The features of HECT E3s that determine their chain type specificities have not been identified. We show here that chain type specificity is a function solely of the Rsp5 HECT domain, that the identity of the cooperating E2 protein does not influence the chain type specificity, that single chains produced by Rsp5 contain between 12 and 30 ubiquitin moieties, and that the determinants of chain type specificity are located within the last 60 amino acids of the C lobe of the HECT domain. Our results are also consistent with a simple sequential-addition mechanism for polyubiquitination by Rsp5, rather than a mechanism involving the formation of either E2- or E3-linked polyubiquitin chain transfers.
Many microbial pathogens deliver effector proteins via the type III secretion system into infected host cells. Elucidating the function of these effectors is essential for our understanding of pathogenesis. Here, we describe biochemical and structural characterization of an effector protein (NleL) from Escherichia coli O157:H7, a widespread pathogen causing severe foodborne diseases. We show that NleL functionally and structurally mimics eukaryotic HECT E3 ligases and catalyzes formation of unanchored polyubiquitin chains using Lys6 and Lys48 linkage. The catalytic cysteine residue forms a thioester intermediate with ubiquitin. The structure of NleL contains two domains, a β-helix domain formed by pentapeptide repeats and a bilobed catalytic domain reminiscent of the N- and C-lobe architecture of HECT E3s. Six structures of NleL observed in two crystal forms revealed a large range of different positions of the C-lobe relative to the N-lobe, indicating that the helix linking the two lobes is extremely flexible. Comparing the structure of NleL with that of the Salmonella homolog SopA showed that the orientation of the C-lobes differ by as much as 108°, suggesting that large movements of the C-lobe may be required to facilitate the transfer of ubiquitin from E2 to the substrate. These results provide critical knowledge toward understanding the molecular mechanism by which pathogens utilize the host ubiquitination system during infection.
Bacteria; E3 Ubiquitin Ligase; Ubiquitin; Ubiquitin Ligase; Ubiquitination; HECT Domain; Effector Protein; Polyubiquitin
In E1-E2-E3 ubiquitin (Ub) conjugation cascades, the E2 first forms a transient E2~Ub covalent complex, and then interacts with an E3 for Ub transfer. For cascades involving E3s in the HECT class, Ub is transferred from an associated E2 to the acceptor Cys in the HECT domain C-lobe. To gain insights into this process, we determined the crystal structure of a complex between the HECT domain of NEDD4L and the E2 UbcH5B bearing a covalently-linked Ub at its active site (UbcH5B~Ub). Noncovalent interactions between UbcH5B and the HECT N-lobe and between Ub and the HECT domain C-lobe lead to an overall compact structure, with the Ub C-terminus sandwiched between UbcH5B and HECT domain active sites. The structure suggests a model for E2-to-HECT Ub transfer, in which interactions between a donor Ub and an acceptor domain constrain upstream and downstream enzymes for conjugation.
Ubiquitin; HECT; E3; Ubiquitin ligase; UbcH5B; NEDD4L; NEDD4-2
Ubiquitination serves multiple cellular functions, including proteasomal degradation and the control of stability, function, and intracellular localization of a wide variety of proteins. NEDD4L is a member of the HECT class of E3 ubiquitin ligases. A defining feature of NEDD4L protein isoforms is the presence or absence of an amino-terminal C2 domain, a class of subcellular, calcium-dependent targeting domains. We previously identified a common variant in human NEDD4L that generates isoforms that contain or lack a C2 domain.
To address the potential functional significance of the NEDD4L common variant on NEDD4L subcellular localization, NEDD4L isoforms that either contained or lacked a C2 domain were tagged with enhanced green fluorescent protein, transfected into Xenopus laevis kidney epithelial cells, and imaged by performing confocal microscopy on live cells. We report that the presence or absence of this C2 domain exerts differential effects on the subcellular distribution of NEDD4L, the ability of C2 containing and lacking NEDD4L isoforms to mobilize in response to a calcium stimulus, and the intracellular transport of subunits of the NEDD4L substrate, ENaC. Furthermore, the ability of the C2-containing isoform to influence β-ENaC mobilization from intracellular pools involves the NEDD4L active site for ubiquitination. We propose a model to account for the potential impact of this common genetic variant on protein function at the cellular level.
NEDD4L isoforms that contain or lack a C2 domain target different intracellular locations. Additionally, whereas the C2-containing NEDD4L isoform is capable of shuttling between the plasma membrane and intracellular compartments in response to calcium stimulus the C2-lacking isoform can not. The C2-containing isoform differentially affects the mobilization of ENaC subunits from intracellular pools and this trafficking step requires NEDD4L ubiquitin ligase activity. This observation suggests a new mechanism for the requirement for the PY motif in cAMP-mediated exocytosis of ENaC. We have elucidated how a common genetic variant can underlie significant functional diversity in NEDD4L at the cellular level. We propose a model that describes how that functional variation may influence blood pressure. Moreover, our observations regarding differential function of the NEDD4L isoforms may impact other aspects of physiology that involve this ubiquitin ligase.
The first crystallographic study of an isolated WW domain is reported. Single crystals of the WW4 domain of the Nedd4-2 ubiquitin–protein ligase contain a high solvent content of 74% and diffract X-rays to 2.5 Å resolution.
Ubiquitin-mediated protein modification via covalent attachment of ubiquitin has emerged as one of the most common regulatory processes in all eukaryotes. Nedd4-2, closely related to neuronal precursor cell-expressed developmentally down-regulated 4 (Nedd4), is a multimodular ubiquitin–protein ligase comprised of four WW domains and a Hect domain. The WW domains recognize the proline-rich motifs on the multi-subunit amiloride-sensitive epithelial sodium channel (ENaC). To gain insights into the binding of the WW domain to proline-rich peptides, a protein fragment (78 amino acids) containing the fourth WW domain (WW4) of the Nedd4-2 protein was purified and crystallized and X-ray diffraction data were collected. A data set was obtained to 2.5 Å resolution from a cryocooled single crystal at a synchrotron source. The crystals belong to the tetragonal space group P41212 (or P43212), with unit-cell parameters a = b = 113.43, c = 103.21 Å. Analysis of the self-rotation function suggests the presence of four WW4 molecules in the asymmetric unit, with a high unit-cell solvent content of 74%.
Nedd4-2 ubiquitin–protein ligase; WW4 domain
Yeast Rsp5p and its mammalian homologue, Nedd4, are
hect domain ubiquitin-protein ligases (E3s) required for
the ubiquitin-dependent endocytosis of plasma membrane proteins.
Because ubiquitination is sufficient to induce internalization,
E3-mediated ubiquitination is a key regulatory event in plasma membrane
protein endocytosis. Rsp5p is an essential, multidomain protein
containing an amino-terminal C2 domain, three WW protein-protein
interaction domains, and a carboxy-terminal hect domain
that carries E3 activity. In this study, we demonstrate that Rsp5p is
peripherally associated with membranes and provide evidence that Rsp5p
functions as part of a multimeric protein complex. We define the
function of Rsp5p and its domains in the ubiquitin-dependent
internalization of the yeast α-factor receptor, Ste2p.
Temperature-sensitive rsp5 mutants were unable to
ubiquitinate or to internalize Ste2p at the nonpermissive temperature.
Deletion of the entire C2 domain had no effect on α-factor
internalization; however, point mutations in any of the three WW
domains impaired both receptor ubiquitination and internalization.
These observations indicate that the WW domains play a role in the
important regulatory event of selecting phosphorylated proteins as
endocytic cargo. In addition, mutations in the C2 and WW1 domains had
more severe defects on transport of fluid-phase markers to the vacuole
than on receptor internalization, suggesting that Rsp5p functions at
multiple steps in the endocytic pathway.
G2E3 was originally described as a G2/M-specific gene with DNA damage responsive expression. The presence of a conserved HECT domain within the carboxy-terminus of the protein indicated that it likely functions as an ubiquitin ligase or E3. Although HECT domains are known to function in this capacity for many proteins, we demonstrate that a portion of the HECT domain from G2E3 plays an important role in the dynamic subcellular localization of the protein. We have shown that G2E3 is a nucleo-cytoplasmic shuttling protein with nuclear export mediated by a novel nuclear export domain that functions independently of CRM1. In full-length G2E3, a separate region of the HECT domain suppresses the function of the NES. Additionally, G2E3 contains a nucleolar localization signal (NoLS) in its amino terminus. Localization of G2E3 to the nucleolus is a dynamic process, and the protein delocalizes from the nucleolus rapidly after DNA damage. Cell cycle phase-specific expression and highly regulated subcellular localization of G2E3 suggest a possible role in cell cycle regulation and the cellular response to DNA damage.
nucleolus; DNA damage; ubiquitin ligase; HECT; CRM1; leptomycin B; nuclear export
HECT (homologous to the E6AP C terminus) ubiquitin ligases have diverse functions in eukaryotic cells. In screens for proteins that bind to the HECT ubiquitin ligase WWP1, we identified Spartin, which is also known as SPG20. This protein is truncated in a neurological disease, Troyer syndrome. In this study, we show that SPG20 associates with the surface of lipid droplets (LDs) and can regulate their size and number. SPG20 binds to another LD protein, TIP47, and both proteins compete with an additional LD protein, adipophilin/adipocyte differentiation-related protein, for occupancy of LDs. The mutant SPG20 present in Troyer syndrome does not possess these activities. Depletion of SPG20 using RNA interference increases the number and size of LDs when cells are fed with oleic acid. Binding of WWP1 to SPG20 and the consequent ubiquitin transfer remove SPG20 from LDs and reduce the levels of coexpressed SPG20. These experiments suggest functions for ubiquitin ligases and SPG20 in the regulation of LD turnover and potential pathological mechanisms in Troyer syndrome.
Many enveloped viruses exploit the class E vacuolar protein-sorting (VPS) pathway to bud from cells, and use peptide motifs to recruit specific class E VPS factors. Homologous to E6AP COOH terminus (HECT) ubiquitin ligases have been implicated as cofactors for PPXY motif–dependent budding, but precisely which members of this family are responsible, and how they access the VPS pathway is unclear. Here, we show that PPXY-dependent viral budding is unusually sensitive to inhibitory fragments derived from specific HECT ubiquitin ligases, namely WWP1 and WWP2. We also show that WWP1, WWP2, or Itch ubiquitin ligase recruitment promotes PPXY-dependent virion release, and that this function requires that the HECT ubiquitin ligase domain be catalytically active. Finally, we show that several mammalian HECT ubiquitin ligases, including WWP1, WWP2, and Itch are recruited to class E compartments induced by dominant negative forms of the class E VPS ATPase, VPS4. These data indicate that specific HECT ubiquitin ligases can link PPXY motifs to the VPS pathway to induce viral budding.
Heterologous expression of HIV-1 Gag in a variety of host cells results in its packaging into virus-like particles (VLPs) that are subsequently released into the extracellular milieu. This phenomenon represents a useful tool for probing cellular factors required for viral budding and has contributed to the discovery of roles for ubiquitin ligases and the endosomal sorting complexes required for transport (ESCRTs) in viral budding. These factors are highly conserved throughout eukaryotes and have been studied extensively in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a model eukaryote previously utilized as a host for the production of VLPs. We used heterologous expression of HIV Gag in yeast spheroplasts to examine the role of ESCRTs and associated factors (Rsp5, a HECT ubiquitin ligase of the Nedd4 family; Bro1, a homolog of Alix; and Vps4, the AAA-ATPase required for ESCRT function in all contexts/organisms investigated) in the generation of VLPs. Our data reveal: 1) characterized Gag-ESCRT interaction motifs (late domains) are not required for VLP budding, 2) loss of function alleles of the essential HECT ubiquitin ligase Rsp5 do not display defects in VLP formation, and 3) ESCRT function is not required for VLP formation from spheroplasts. These results suggest that the egress of HIV Gag from yeast cells is distinct from the most commonly described mode of exit from mammalian cells, instead mimicking ESCRT-independent VLP formation observed in a subset of mammalian cells. As such, budding of Gag from yeast cells appears to represent ESCRT-independent budding relevant to viral replication in at least some situations. Thus the myriad of genetic and biochemical tools available in the yeast system may be of utility in the study of this aspect of viral budding.
Type I interferon (IFN) stimulates expression and conjugation of the ubiquitin-like modifier IFN-stimulated gene 15 (ISG15), thereby restricting replication of a wide variety of viruses. Conjugation of ISG15 is critical for its antiviral activity in mice. HECT domain and RCC1-like domain containing protein 5 (HerC5) mediates global ISGylation in human cells, whereas its closest relative, HerC6, does not. So far, the requirement of HerC5 for ISG15-mediated antiviral activity has remained unclear. One of the main obstacles to address this issue has been that no HerC5 homologue exists in mice, hampering the generation of a good knock-out model. However, mice do express a homologue of HerC6 that, in contrast to human HerC6, can mediate ISGylation.
Here we report that the mouse HerC6 N-terminal RCC1-like domain (RLD) allows ISG15 conjugation when replacing the corresponding domain in the human HerC6 homologue. In addition, sequences in the C-terminal HECT domain of mouse HerC6 also appear to facilitate efficient ISGylation. Mouse HerC6 paralleled human HerC5 in localization and IFN-inducibility. Moreover, HerC6 knock-down in mouse cells abolished global ISGylation, whereas its over expression enhanced the IFNβ promoter and conferred antiviral activity against vesicular stomatitis virus and Newcastle disease virus. Together these data indicate that HerC6 is likely the functional counterpart of human HerC5 in mouse cells, suggesting that HerC6−/− mice may provide a feasible model to study the role of human HerC5 in antiviral responses.
Ubiquitin signaling pathways rely on E3 ligases for effecting the final transfer of ubiquitin from E2 ubiquitin conjugating enzymes to a protein target. Here we re-evaluate the hybrid RING/HECT mechanism used by the E3 family RING-between-RINGs (RBRs) to transfer ubiquitin to substrates. We place RBRs into the context of current knowledge of HECT and RING E3s. Although not as abundant as the other types of E3s (there are only slightly more than a dozen RBR E3s in the human genome), RBRs are conserved in all eukaryotes and play important roles in biology. Re-evaluation of RBR ligases as RING/HECT E3s provokes new questions and challenges the field.
In a simplified view, members of the HECT E3 family have a modular structure consisting of the C-terminal HECT domain, which is catalytically involved in the attachment of ubiquitin to substrate proteins, and N-terminal extensions of variable length and sequence that mediate the substrate specificity of the respective HECT E3. Although the physiologically relevant substrates of most HECT E3s have remained elusive, it is becoming increasingly clear that HECT E3s play an important role in sporadic and hereditary human diseases including cancer, cardiovascular (Liddle's syndrome) and neurological (Angelman syndrome) disorders, and/or in disease-relevant processes including bone homeostasis, immune response and retroviral budding. Thus, molecular approaches to target the activity of distinct HECT E3s, regulators thereof, and/or of HECT E3 substrates could prove valuable in the treatment of the respective diseases.
Publication history: Republished from Current BioData's Targeted Proteins database (TPdb; ).
Steroid hormone receptors (SHR) belong to a large family of ligand-activated transcription factors that perform their biological functions by enhancing the transcription of specific target genes. The transactivation functions of SHRs are regulated by a specialized group of proteins called coactivators. The SHR coactivators represent a growing class of proteins with various enzymatic activities that serve to modify the chromatin to facilitate the transcription of SHR target genes. The ubiquitin-proteasome pathway enzymes have also been added to the growing list of enzymatic activities that are recruited to the SHR target gene promoters during transcription. One such ubiquitin-proteasome pathway enzyme to be identified and characterized as a SHR coactivator was E6-associated protein (E6-AP). E6-AP is a hect (homologous to E6-associated protein carboxy-terminal domain) domain containing E3 ubiquitin ligase that possesses two independent separable functions; a coactivation function and an ubiquitin-protein ligase activity. Being a component of the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway, it is postulated that E6-AP may orchestrate the dynamics of steroid hormone receptor-mediated transcription by regulating the degradation of the transcriptional complexes. E6-AP has also been shown to be involved in the regulation of various aspects of reproduction such as prostate and mammary gland development. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that E6-AP expression is down-regulated in breast and prostate tumors and that the expression of E6-AP is inversely associated with that of estrogen and androgen receptors. This review summarizes our current knowledge about the structures, molecular mechanisms, spatiotemporal expression patterns and biological functions of E6-AP.
The Saccharomyces cerevisiae RSP5 gene encodes an essential HECT E3 ubiquitin-protein ligase. Rsp5p contains an N-terminal C2 domain, three WW domains in the central portion of the molecule, and a C-terminal catalytic HECT domain. A diverse group of substrates of Rsp5p and vertebrate C2 WW-domain-containing HECT E3s have been identified, including both nuclear and membrane-associated proteins. We determined the intracellular localization of Rsp5p and the determinants necessary for localization, in order to better understand how Rsp5p activities are coordinated. Using both green fluorescent protein fusions to Rsp5p and immunogold electron microscopy, we found that Rsp5p was distributed in a punctate pattern at the plasma membrane, corresponding to membrane invaginations that are likely sites of endosome formation, as well as at perivacuolar sites. The latter appeared to correspond to endocytic intermediates, as these structures were not seen in a sla2/end4-1 mutant, and double-immunogold labeling demonstrated colocalization of Rsp5p with the endosomal markers Pep12p and Vps32p. The C2 domain was an important determinant of localization; however, mutations that disrupted HECT domain function also caused mislocalization of Rsp5p, indicating that enzymatic activity is linked to localization. Deletion of the C2 domain partially stabilized Fur4p, a protein previously shown to undergo Rsp5p- and ubiquitin-mediated endocytosis; however, Fur4p was still ubiquitinated at the plasma membrane when the C2 domain was deleted from the protein. Together, these results indicate that Rsp5p is located at multiple sites within the endocytic pathway and suggest that Rsp5p may function at multiple steps in the ubiquitin-mediated endocytosis pathway.
MAK-V/Hunk is a scantily characterized AMPK-like protein kinase. Recent findings identified MAK-V as a pro-survival and anti-apoptotic protein and revealed its role in embryonic development as well as in tumorigenesis and metastasis. However molecular mechanisms of MAK-V action and regulation of its activity remain largely unknown. We identified Nedd4 as an interaction partner for MAK-V protein kinase. However, this HECT-type E3 ubiquitin ligase is not involved in the control of MAK-V degradation by the ubiquitin-proteasome system that regulates MAK-V abundance in cells. However, Nedd4 in an ubiquitin ligase-independent manner rescued developmental defects in Xenopus embryos induced by MAK-V overexpression, suggesting physiological relevance of interaction between MAK-V and Nedd4. This identifies Nedd4 as the first known regulator of MAK-V function.
The Nedd4 (neural precursor cell-expressed developmentally downregulated gene 4) family of ubiquitin ligases (E3s) is characterized by a distinct modular domain architecture, with each member consisting of a C2 domain, 2–4 WW domains, and a HECT-type ligase domain. Of the nine mammalian members of this family, Nedd4 and its close relative, Nedd4-2, represent the ancestral ligases with strong similarity to the yeast, Rsp5. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae Rsp5 has a key role in regulating the trafficking, sorting, and degradation of a large number of proteins in multiple cellular compartments. However, in mammals the Nedd4 family members, including Nedd4 and Nedd4-2, appear to have distinct functions, thereby suggesting that these E3s target specific proteins for ubiquitylation. In this article we focus on the biology and emerging functions of Nedd4 and Nedd4-2, and review recent in vivo studies on these E3s.
ubiquitylation; endocytosis; trafficking; receptor; signaling
The tumor suppressor PTEN, a critical regulator for multiple cellular processes, is mutated or deleted frequently in various human cancers. Subtle reductions in PTEN expression levels have profound impacts on carcinogenesis. Here we show that PTEN level is regulated by ubiquitin-mediated proteasomal degradation, and purified its ubiquitin ligase as HECT-domain protein NEDD4-1. In cells, NEDD4-1 negatively regulates PTEN stability by catalyzing PTEN polyubiquitination. Consistent with the tumor suppressive role of PTEN, overexpression of NEDD4-1 potentiated cellular transformation. Strikingly, in a mouse cancer model and multiple human cancer samples where the genetic background of PTEN was normal but its protein levels were low, NEDD4-1 was highly expressed, suggesting aberrant upregulation of NEDD4-1 can posttranslationally suppress PTEN in cancers. Elimination of NEDD4-1 expression inhibited xenotransplanted tumor growth in a PTEN-dependent manner. Therefore, NEDD4-1 is a potential proto-oncogene that negatively regulates PTEN via ubiquitination, a paradigm analogous to that of Mdm2 and p53.
Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are required for normal postnatal bone formation and osteoblast differentiation. There is evidence from recent studies that BMP signaling in osteoblasts is controlled by an ubiquitin-proteasome regulatory mechanism involving a cascade of enzymatic reactions. The specificity of protein ubiquitination is determined by E3 ubiquitin ligases, which play a crucial role in defining substrate specificity and subsequent protein degradation by 26S proteasomes. We have examined the role of the E3 ubiquitin ligase Smad ubiquitin regulatory factor 1 (Smurf1), a member of the Hect domain family of E3 ubiquitin ligases in osteoblast function. Smurf1 has been found to interact with BMP-activated Smad1 and -5 and to mediate degradation of these Smad proteins. Recently we have found that Smurf1 mediates the protein degradation of the osteoblast-specific transcription factor Runx2/Cbfa1. To determine the role of Smurf1 in osteoblast differentiation, in the present studies we transfected a Smurf1 expression plasmid into 2T3 osteoblast precursor cells and found that Smurf1 overexpression inhibits BMP signaling and osteoblast differentiation. To further investigate the role of Smurf1 in bone formation in vivo, we generated transgenic mice in which expression of the epitope-tagged Smurf1 transgene was targeted to osteoblasts using the murine 2.3-kb osteoblast-specific type I collagen promoter. In these transgenic mice, bone formation was significantly reduced during postnatal life. Our results demonstrate for the first time that Smurf1 plays a specific role in osteoblast differentiation and bone formation in vivo.
Studies in yeast and mammalian cells over the past decade have shown that HECT domain ubiquitin ligases (HECT E3 enzymes) are involved in diverse physiological pathways. Many substrates of specific HECT E3s have been identified, as well as many adaptor proteins that aid in defining substrate specificity or intracellular localization of HECT E3s. Here we review some recently discovered mechanisms for regulation of the catalytic activities of HECT E3s, including regulation at the level of E2 recruitiment, phosphorylation-dependent relief of inhibitory intramolecular interactions, and regulation by association with a deubiquitinating enzyme.