Neurotoxic mechanisms by which the USP14 inhibitor IU1 depletes ubiquitinated proteins and Tau in rat cerebral cortical neurons: Relevance to Alzheimer's disease.
ABSTRACT: In Alzheimer's disease proteasome activity is reportedly downregulated, thus increasing it could be therapeutically beneficial. The proteasome-associated deubiquitinase USP14 disassembles polyubiquitin-chains, potentially delaying proteasome-dependent protein degradation. We assessed the protective efficacy of inhibiting or downregulating USP14 in rat and mouse (Usp14axJ) neuronal cultures treated with prostaglandin J2 (PGJ2). IU1 concentrations (HIU1>25μM) reported by others to inhibit USP14 and be protective in non-neuronal cells, reduced PGJ2-induced Ub-protein accumulation in neurons. However, HIU1 alone or with PGJ2 is neurotoxic, induces calpain-dependent Tau cleavage, and decreases E1~Ub thioester levels and 26S proteasome assembly, which are energy-dependent processes. We attribute the two latter HIU1 effects to ATP-deficits and mitochondrial Complex I inhibition, as shown herein. These HIU1 effects mimic those of mitochondrial inhibitors in general, thus supporting that ATP-depletion is a major mediator of HIU1-actions. In contrast, low IU1 concentrations (LIU1≤25μM) or USP14 knockdown by siRNA in rat cortical cultures or loss of USP14 in cortical cultures from ataxia (Usp14axJ) mice, failed to prevent PGJ2-induced Ub-protein accumulation. PGJ2 alone induces Ub-protein accumulation and decreases E1~Ub thioester levels. This seemingly paradoxical result may be attributed to PGJ2 inhibiting some deubiquitinases (such as UCH-L1 but not USP14), thus triggering Ub-protein stabilization. Overall, IU1-concentrations that reduce PGJ2-induced accumulation of Ub-proteins are neurotoxic, trigger calpain-mediated Tau cleavage, lower ATP, E1~Ub thioester and E1 protein levels, and reduce proteasome activity. In conclusion, pharmacologically inhibiting (with low or high IU1 concentrations) or genetically down-regulating USP14 fail to enhance proteasomal degradation of Ub-proteins or Tau in neurons.
Project description:The ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) is responsible for most selective protein degradation in eukaryotes and regulates numerous cellular processes, including cell cycle control and protein quality control. A component of this system, the deubiquitinating enzyme USP14, associates with the proteasome where it can rescue substrates from degradation by removal of the ubiquitin tag. We previously found that a small-molecule inhibitor of USP14, known as IU1, can increase the rate of degradation of a subset of proteasome substrates. We report here the synthesis and characterization of 87 variants of IU1, which resulted in the identification of a 10-fold more potent USP14 inhibitor that retains specificity for USP14. The capacity of this compound, IU1-47, to enhance protein degradation in cells was tested using as a reporter the microtubule-associated protein tau, which has been implicated in many neurodegenerative diseases. Using primary neuronal cultures, IU1-47 was found to accelerate the rate of degradation of wild-type tau, the pathological tau mutants P301L and P301S, and the A152T tau variant. We also report that a specific residue in tau, lysine 174, is critical for the IU1-47-mediated tau degradation by the proteasome. Finally, we show that IU1-47 stimulates autophagic flux in primary neurons. In summary, these findings provide a powerful research tool for investigating the complex biology of USP14.
Project description:Neurofibrillary tangles (NFT) are a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. The major neurofibrillary tangle component is tau that is truncated at Asp421 (Deltatau), hyperphosphorylated and aggregates into insoluble paired helical filaments. Alzheimer's disease brains also exhibit signs of inflammation manifested by activated astrocytes and microglia, which produce cytotoxic agents among them prostaglandins. We show that prostaglandin (PG) J2, an endogenous product of inflammation, induces caspase-mediated cleavage of tau, generating Deltatau, an aggregation prone form known to seed tau aggregation prior to neurofibrillary tangle formation. The initial event observed upon PGJ2-treatment of human neuroblastoma SK-N-SH cells was the build-up of ubiquitinated (Ub) proteins indicating an early disruption of the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. Apoptosis kicked in later, manifested by caspase activation and caspase-mediated cleavage of tau at Asp421 and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase. Furthermore, cathepsin inhibition stabilized Deltatau suggesting its lysosomal clearance. Upon PGJ2-treatment tau accumulated in a large perinuclear aggregate. In rat E18 cortical neuronal cultures PGJ2-treatment also generated Deltatau detected in dystrophic neurites. Levels of Deltatau were diminished by caspase 3 knockdown using siRNA. PGD2, the precursor of PGJ2, produced some Deltatau. PGE2 generated none. Our data suggest a potential sequence of events triggered by the neurotoxic product of inflammation PGJ2 leading to tau pathology. The accumulation of Ub proteins is an early response. If cells fail to overcome the toxic effects induced by PGJ2, including accumulation of Ub proteins, apoptosis kicks in triggering caspase activation and tau cleavage, the clearance of which by cathepsins could be compromised culminating in tau pathology. Our studies are the first to provide a mechanistic link between inflammation and tau pathology.
Project description:Neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) are hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The main component of NFTs is TAU, a highly soluble microtubule-associated protein. However, when TAU is cleaved at Asp421 by caspases it becomes prone to aggregation leading to NFTs. What triggers caspase activation resulting in TAU cleavage remains unclear. We investigated in rat cortical neurons a potential coordination between proteasome impairment and caspase activation. We demonstrate that upon proteasome inhibition, the early accumulation of detergent-soluble ubiquitinated (SUb) proteins paves the way to caspase activation and TAU pathology. This occurs with two drugs that inhibit the proteasome by different means: the product of inflammation prostaglandin J2 (PGJ2) and epoxomicin. Our results pinpoint a critical early event, that is, the buildup of SUb proteins that contributes to caspase activation, TAU cleavage, TAU/Ub-protein aggregation and neuronal death. Furthermore, to our knowledge, we are the first to demonstrate that elevating cAMP in neurons with dibutyryl-cAMP (db-cAMP) or the lipophilic peptide PACAP27 prevents/diminishes caspase activation, TAU cleavage and neuronal death induced by PGJ2, as long as these PGJ2-induced changes are moderate. db-cAMP also stimulated proteasomes, and mitigated proteasome inhibition induced by PGJ2. We propose that targeting cAMP/PKA to boost proteasome activity in a sustainable manner could offer an effective approach to avoid early accumulation of SUb proteins and later caspase activation, and TAU cleavage, possibly preventing/delaying AD neurodegeneration.
Project description:Previous studies have demonstrated that the antitumor potential of IU1 (a pharmacological compound), which was mediated by selective inhibition of proteasome-associated deubiquitinase ubiquitin-specific protease 14 (USP14). However, the underlying molecular mechanisms remain elusive. It has been well established that mdm2 (Murine double minute 2) gene was amplified and/or overexpressed in a variety of human neoplasms, including cervical cancer. Furthermore, MDM2 is critical to cervical cancer development and progression. Relatively studies have reported that USP15 and USP7 stabilized MDM2 protein levels by removing its ubiquitin chain. In the current study, we studied the cell proliferation status after IU1 treatment and the USP14-MDM2 protein interaction in cervical cancer cells. This study experimentally revealed that IU1 treatment reduced MDM2 protein expression in HeLa cervical cancer cells, along with the activation of autophagy-lysosomal protein degradation and promotion of ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) function, thereby blocked G0/G1 to S phase transition, decreased cell growth and triggered cell apoptosis. Thus, these results indicate that IU1 treatment simultaneously targets two major intracellular protein degradation systems, ubiquitin-proteasome and autophagy-lysosome systems, which leads to MDM2 degradation and contributes to the antitumor effect of IU1.
Project description:Ubiquitin (Ub) conjugation is initiated by an E1 enzyme that catalyzes carboxy-terminal Ub adenylation, thioester bond formation to a catalytic cysteine in the E1 Cys domain, and thioester transfer to a catalytic cysteine in E2 conjugating enzymes. How the E1 and E2 active sites come together during thioester transfer and how Ub E1 interacts with diverse Ub E2s remains unclear. Here we present a crystal structure of a Ub E1-E2(Ubc4)/Ub/ATP·Mg complex that was stabilized by induction of a disulfide bond between the E1 and E2 active sites. The structure reveals combinatorial recognition of the E2 by the E1 ubiquitin-fold domain (UFD) and Cys domain and mutational analysis, coupled with thioester transfer assays with E1, Ubc4, and other Ub E2s, show that both interfaces are important for thioester transfer. Comparison to a Ub E1/Ub/ATP·Mg structure reveals conformational changes in the E1 that bring the E1 and E2 active sites together.
Project description:The ubiquitin (Ub) and Ub-like (Ubl) protein-conjugation cascade is initiated by E1 enzymes that catalyze Ub/Ubl activation through C-terminal adenylation, thioester bond formation with an E1 catalytic cysteine, and thioester bond transfer to Ub/Ubl E2 conjugating enzymes. Each of these reactions is accompanied by conformational changes of the E1 domain that contains the catalytic cysteine (Cys domain). Open conformations of the Cys domain are associated with adenylation and thioester transfer to E2s, while a closed conformation is associated with pyrophosphate release and thioester bond formation. Several structures are available for Ub E1s, but none has been reported in the open state before pyrophosphate release or in the closed state. Here, we describe the structures of Schizosaccharomyces pombe Ub E1 in these two states, captured using semisynthetic Ub probes. In the first, with a Ub-adenylate mimetic (Ub-AMSN) bound, the E1 is in an open conformation before release of pyrophosphate. In the second, with a Ub-vinylsulfonamide (Ub-AVSN) bound covalently to the catalytic cysteine, the E1 is in a closed conformation required for thioester bond formation. These structures provide further insight into Ub E1 adenylation and thioester bond formation. Conformational changes that accompany Cys-domain rotation are conserved for SUMO and Ub E1s, but changes in Ub E1 involve additional surfaces as mutational and biochemical analysis of residues within these surfaces alter Ub E1 activities.
Project description:The ubiquitin-proteasome system is an essential regulator of several cellular pathways involving oncogenes. Deubiquitination negatively regulates target proteins or substrates linked to both hereditary and sporadic forms of cancer. The deubiquitinating enzyme ubiquitin-specific protease 14 (USP14) is associated with proteasomes where it trims the ubiquitin chain on the substrate. Here, we found that USP14 is highly expressed in patients with lung cancer. We also demonstrated that USP14 inhibitors (IU1-47 and siRNA-USP14) significantly decreased cell proliferation, migration, and invasion in lung cancer. Remarkably, we found that USP14 negatively regulates lung tumorigenesis not only through apoptosis but also through the autophagy pathway. Our findings suggest that USP14 plays a crucial role in lung tumorigenesis and that USP14 inhibitors are potent drugs in lung cancer treatment.
Project description:The ubiquitin system is important for drug discovery, and the discovery of selective small-molecule inhibitors of deubiquitinating enzymes (DUBs) remains an active yet extremely challenging task. With a few exceptions, previously developed inhibitors have been found to bind the evolutionarily conserved catalytic centers of DUBs, resulting in poor selectivity. The small molecule IU1 was the first-ever specific inhibitor identified and exhibited surprisingly excellent selectivity for USP14 over other DUBs. However, the molecular mechanism for this selectivity was elusive. Herein, we report the high-resolution co-crystal structures of the catalytic domain of USP14 bound to IU1 and three IU1 derivatives. All the structures of these complexes indicate that IU1 and its analogs bind to a previously unknown steric binding site in USP14, thus blocking the access of the C-terminus of ubiquitin to the active site of USP14 and abrogating USP14 activity. Importantly, this steric site in USP14 is very unique, as suggested by structural alignments of USP14 with several known DUB X-ray structures. These results, in conjunction with biochemical characterization, indicate a coherent steric blockade mechanism for USP14 inhibition by compounds of the IU series. In light of the recent report of steric blockade of USP7 by FT671, this work suggests a potential generally applicable allosteric mechanism for the regulation of DUBs via steric blockade, as showcased by our discovery of IU1-248 which is 10-fold more potent than IU1.
Project description:The molecular mechanism underlying bilirubin neurotoxicity remains obscure. Ubiquitin-proteasome system-mediated proteolysis is pivotal to virtually all cellular processes and cell survival. Here we report for the first time that bilirubin at a clinically relevant elevated level impairs proteasomal function via inhibiting both the 19S proteasome-associated deubiquitinases (USP14 and UCHL5) and the chymotrypsin-like (CT-like) peptidase activity of 20S proteasomes, thereby contributing to bilirubin neurotoxicity. This is supported by multiple lines of evidence. First, sera from patients with hyperbilirubinemia were able to inhibit the peptidase activity of purified 20S proteasome in vitro in a bilirubin concentration-dependent manner; meanwhile, the blood cells of these patients showed significantly increased levels of ubiquitinated proteins (Ub-prs), consistent with proteasome inhibition. Second, intracerebroventricular injection to adult rats or intraperitoneal injections to neonatal rats of bilirubin-induced neural accumulation of Ub-prs, concurrent with other neural pathology; and brain malfunction and pathology induced by neonatal exposure to hyperbilirubinemia were detectable in the rats during their adulthood. Third, in primary cultures of hippocampal neurons, bilirubin strikingly induced Ub-pr accumulation before the activation of cell death pathway becomes discernible. Finally, bilirubin in vitro directly inhibited both the deubiquitination activity of proteasome-associated USP14 and UCHL5 and the CT-like peptidase activity of purified 20S proteasomes, in a dose-dependent manner. Hence, this study has discovered that increased bilirubin at a clinically achievable level can act as a proteasome inhibitor via targeting the 19S proteasome-associated deubiquitinases (DUBs) and, perhaps to a less extent, the 20S proteasome, identifying a novel mechanism for bilirubin neurotoxicity.
Project description:In eukaryotic cells, ubiquitination of proteins leads to their degradation by the 26S proteasome. We tested if the ubiquitin (Ub) chain also regulates the proteasome's capacity for proteolysis. After incubation with polyubiquitinated proteins, 26S proteasomes hydrolyzed peptides and proteins 2- to 7-fold faster. Ub conjugates enhanced peptide hydrolysis by stimulating gate opening in the 20S proteasome. This stimulation was seen when this gate was closed or transiently open, but not maximally open. Gate opening requires conjugate association with Usp14/Ubp6 and also occurs if Ub aldehyde occupies this isopeptidase's active site. No stimulation was observed with 26S from Ubp6Delta mutants, but this effect was restored upon addition of Usp14/Ubp6 (even an inactive Ubp6). The stimulation of gate opening by Ub conjugates through Usp14/Ubp6 requires nucleotide binding to the gate-regulatory ATPases. This activation enhances the selectivity of the 26S proteasome for ubiquitinated proteins and links their deubiquitination to their degradation.