Tripartite degrons confer diversity and specificity on regulated protein degradation in the ubiquitin-proteasome system.
ABSTRACT: Specific signals (degrons) regulate protein turnover mediated by the ubiquitin-proteasome system. Here we systematically analyse known degrons and propose a tripartite model comprising the following: (1) a primary degron (peptide motif) that specifies substrate recognition by cognate E3 ubiquitin ligases, (2) secondary site(s) comprising a single or multiple neighbouring ubiquitinated lysine(s) and (3) a structurally disordered segment that initiates substrate unfolding at the 26S proteasome. Primary degron sequences are conserved among orthologues and occur in structurally disordered regions that undergo E3-induced folding-on-binding. Posttranslational modifications can switch primary degrons into E3-binding-competent states, thereby integrating degradation with signalling pathways. Degradation-linked lysines tend to be located within disordered segments that also initiate substrate degradation by effective proteasomal engagement. Many characterized mutations and alternative isoforms with abrogated degron components are implicated in disease. These effects result from increased protein stability and interactome rewiring. The distributed nature of degrons ensures regulation, specificity and combinatorial control of degradation.
Project description:The ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) is the primary pathway responsible for the recognition and degradation of misfolded, damaged, or tightly regulated proteins. The conjugation of a polyubiquitin chain, or polyubiquitination, to a target protein requires an increasingly diverse cascade of enzymes culminating with the E3 ubiquitin ligases. Protein recognition by an E3 ligase occurs through a specific sequence of amino acids, termed a degradation sequence or degron. Recently, degrons have been incorporated into novel reporters to monitor proteasome activity; however only a limited few degrons have successfully been incorporated into such reporters. The goal of this work was to evaluate the ubiquitination kinetics of a small library of portable degrons that could eventually be incorporated into novel single cell reporters to assess proteasome activity. After an intensive literary search, eight degrons were identified from proteins recognized by a variety of E3 ubiquitin ligases and incorporated into a four component degron-based substrate to comparatively calculate ubiquitination kinetics. The mechanism of placement of multiple ubiquitins on the different degron-based substrates was assessed by comparing the data to computational models incorporating first order reaction kinetics using either multi-monoubiquitination or polyubiquitination of the degron-based substrates. A subset of three degrons was further characterized to determine the importance of the location and proximity of the ubiquitination site lysine with respect to the degron. Ultimately, this work identified three candidate portable degrons that exhibit a higher rate of ubiquitination compared to peptidase-dependent degradation, a desired trait for a proteasomal targeting motif.
Project description:Since the discovery of ubiquitin conjugation as a cellular mechanism that triggers proteasomal degradation, the mode of substrate recognition by the ubiquitin-ligation system has been the holy grail of research in the field. This entails the discovery of recognition determinants within protein substrates, which are part of a degron, and explicit E3 ubiquitin (Ub)-protein ligases that trigger their degradation. Indeed, many protein substrates and their cognate E3's have been discovered in the past 40 years. In the course of these studies, various degrons have been randomly identified, most of which are acquired through post-translational modification, typically, but not exclusively, protein phosphorylation. Nevertheless, acquired degrons cannot account for the vast diversity in cellular protein half-life times. Obviously, regulation of the proteome is largely determined by inherent degrons, that is, determinants integral to the protein structure. Inherent degrons are difficult to predict since they consist of diverse sequence and secondary structure features. Therefore, unbiased methods have been employed for their discovery. This review describes the history of degron discovery methods, including the development of high throughput screening methods, state of the art data acquisition and data analysis. Additionally, it summarizes major discoveries that led to the identification of cognate E3 ligases and hitherto unrecognized complexities of degron function. Finally, we discuss future perspectives and what still needs to be accomplished towards achieving the goal of understanding how the eukaryotic proteome is regulated via coordinated action of components of the ubiquitin-proteasome system.
Project description:The ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) regulates diverse cellular pathways by the timely removal (or processing) of proteins. Here we review the role of structural disorder and conformational flexibility in the different aspects of degradation. First, we discuss post-translational modifications within disordered regions that regulate E3 ligase localization, conformation, and enzymatic activity, and also the role of flexible linkers in mediating ubiquitin transfer and reaction processivity. Next we review well studied substrates and discuss that substrate elements (degrons) recognized by E3 ligases are highly disordered: short linear motifs recognized by many E3s constitute an important class of degrons, and these are almost always present in disordered regions. Substrate lysines targeted for ubiquitination are also often located in neighboring regions of the E3 docking motifs and are therefore part of the disordered segment. Finally, biochemical experiments and predictions show that initiation of degradation at the 26S proteasome requires a partially unfolded region to facilitate substrate entry into the proteasomal core.
Project description:Degrons are minimal elements that mediate the interaction of proteins with degradation machineries to promote proteolysis. Despite their central role in proteostasis, the number of known degrons remains small, and a facile technology to characterize them is lacking. Using a strategy combining global protein stability (GPS) profiling with a synthetic human peptidome, we identify thousands of peptides containing degron activity. Employing CRISPR screening, we establish that the stability of many proteins is regulated through degrons located at their C terminus. We characterize eight Cullin-RING E3 ubiquitin ligase (CRL) complex adaptors that regulate C-terminal degrons, including six CRL2 and two CRL4 complexes, and computationally implicate multiple non-CRLs in end recognition. Proteome analysis revealed that the C termini of eukaryotic proteins are depleted for C-terminal degrons, suggesting an E3-ligase-dependent modulation of proteome composition. Thus, we propose that a series of "C-end rules" operate to govern protein stability and shape the eukaryotic proteome.
Project description:Aberrant proteins can be deleterious to cells and are cleared by the ubiquitin-proteasome system. A group of C-end degrons that are recognized by specific cullin-RING ubiquitin E3 ligases (CRLs) has recently been identified in some of these abnormal polypeptides. Here, we report three crystal structures of a CRL2 substrate receptor, KLHDC2, in complex with the diglycine-ending C-end degrons of two early-terminated selenoproteins and the N-terminal proteolytic fragment of USP1. The E3 recognizes the degron peptides in a similarly coiled conformation and cradles their C-terminal diglycine with a deep surface pocket. By hydrogen bonding with multiple backbone carbonyls of the peptides, KLHDC2 further locks in the otherwise degenerate degrons with a compact interface and unexpected high affinities. Our results reveal the structural mechanism by which KLHDC2 recognizes the simplest C-end degron and suggest a functional necessity of the E3 to tightly maintain the low abundance of its select substrates.
Project description:Selective protein degradation by the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) is thought to be governed primarily by the recognition of specific motifs - degrons - present in substrate proteins. The ends of proteins - the N- and C-termini - have unique properties, and an important subset of protein-protein interactions involve the recognition of free termini. The first degrons to be discovered were located at the extreme N-terminus of proteins, a finding which initiated the study of the N-degron (formerly N-end rule) pathways, but only in the last few years has it emerged that a diverse set of C-degron pathways target analogous degron motifs located at the extreme C-terminus of proteins. In this minireview we summarise the N-degron and C-degron pathways currently known to operate in human cells, focussing primarily on those that have been discovered in recent years. In each case we describe the cellular machinery responsible for terminal degron recognition, and then consider some of the functional roles of terminal degron pathways. Altogether, a broad spectrum of E3 ubiquitin ligases mediate the recognition of a diverse array of terminal degron motifs; these degradative pathways have the potential to influence a wide variety of cellular functions.
Project description:Cullin RING-type E3 ubiquitin ligases SCF<sup>TIR1/AFB1-5</sup> and their AUX/IAA targets perceive the phytohormone auxin. The F-box protein TIR1 binds a surface-exposed degron in AUX/IAAs promoting their ubiquitylation and rapid auxin-regulated proteasomal degradation. Here, by adopting biochemical, structural proteomics and in vivo approaches we unveil how flexibility in AUX/IAAs and regions in TIR1 affect their conformational ensemble allowing surface accessibility of degrons. We resolve TIR1·auxin·IAA7 and TIR1·auxin·IAA12 complex topology, and show that flexible intrinsically disordered regions (IDRs) in the degron's vicinity, cooperatively position AUX/IAAs on TIR1. We identify essential residues at the TIR1 N- and C-termini, which provide non-native interaction interfaces with IDRs and the folded PB1 domain of AUX/IAAs. We thereby establish a role for IDRs in modulating auxin receptor assemblies. By securing AUX/IAAs on two opposite surfaces of TIR1, IDR diversity supports locally tailored positioning for targeted ubiquitylation, and might provide conformational flexibility for a multiplicity of functional states.
Project description:Protein quality control requires careful regulation of intracellular proteolysis. For DegP, a periplasmic protease, substrates promote assembly of inactive hexamers into proteolytically active cages with 12, 18, 24, or 30 subunits. Here, we show that sensitive activation and cage assembly require covalent linkage of distinct substrate sequences that affect degradation (degrons). One degron binds the DegP active site, and another degron binds a separate tethering site in PDZ1 in the crystal structure of a substrate-bound DegP dodecamer. FRET experiments demonstrate that active cages assemble rapidly in a reaction that is positively cooperative in substrate concentration, remain stably assembled while uncleaved substrate is present, and dissociate once degradation is complete. Thus, the energy of binding of linked substrate degrons drives assembly of the proteolytic machine responsible for subsequent degradation. Substrate cleavage and depletion results in disassembly, ensuring that DegP is proteolytically active only when sufficient quantities of protein substrates are present.
Project description:The anaphase-promoting complex/cyclosome (APC/C) controls a variety of cellular processes through its ability to target numerous protein substrates for timely degradation. Substrate selection by this ubiquitin ligase depends on related activator proteins, Cdc20 and Cdh1, which bind and activate the APC/C at distinct cell cycle stages. Biochemical and structural studies revealed that Cdc20 and Cdh1 carry conserved receptor domains to recognize specific sequence motifs in substrates, such as D and KEN boxes. The mechanisms for ordered degradation of APC/C substrates, however, remain incompletely understood. Here we describe minimal degradation sequences (degrons) sufficient for rapid APC/C-Cdh1-specific in vivo degradation. The polo kinase Cdc5-derived degron contained an essential KEN motif, whereas a single RxxL-type D box was the relevant signal in the Cdc20-derived degradation domain, indicating that either motif may support specific recognition by Cdh1. In both degrons, the APC/C recognition motif was flanked by a nuclear localization sequence. Forced localization of the degron constructs revealed that proteolysis mediated by APC/C-Cdh1 is restricted to the nucleus and maximally active in the nucleoplasm. Levels of Iqg1, a cytoplasmic Cdh1 substrate, decreased detectably later than the nucleus-localized Cdh1 substrate Ase1, indicating that confinement to the nucleus may allow for temporal control of APC/C-Cdh1-mediated proteolysis.
Project description:Recently, controllable, targeted proteolysis has emerged as one of the most promising new strategies to study essential genes and otherwise toxic mutations. One of the principal limitations preventing the wider adoption of this approach is due to the lack of easily identifiable species-specific degrons that can be used to trigger the degradation of target proteins. Here, we report new advancements in the targeted proteolysis concept by creating the first prokaryotic N-terminal targeted proteolysis system. We demonstrate how proteins from the LexA-like protein superfamily can be exploited as species-specific reservoirs of N- and/or C-degrons, which are easily identifiable due to their proximity to strictly conserved residues found among LexA-like proteins. Using the LexA-like regulator HdiR of Streptococcus mutans, we identified two separate N-degrons derived from HdiR that confer highly efficient constitutive proteolysis upon target proteins when added as N-terminal peptide tags. Both degrons mediate degradation via AAA+ family housekeeping proteases with one degron primarily targeting FtsH and the other targeting the ClpP-dependent proteases. To modulate degron activity, our approach incorporates a hybrid N-terminal protein tag consisting of the ubiquitin-like protein NEDD8 fused to an HdiR degron. The NEDD8 fusion inhibits degron function until the NEDD8-specific endopeptidase NEDP1 is heterologously expressed to expose the N-degron. By fusing the NEDD8-degron tag onto GFP, luciferase, and the pleiotropic regulator RNase J2, we demonstrate that the N-terminal proteolysis approach exhibits far superior performance compared to the classic transcriptional depletion approach and is similarly applicable for the study of highly toxic mutations.