Identification of New Degrons in Streptococcus mutans Reveals a Novel Strategy for Engineering Targeted, Controllable Proteolysis.
ABSTRACT: 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.
Project description:The proteolysis-assisted protein quality control system guards the proteome from potentially detrimental aberrant proteins. How miscellaneous defective proteins are specifically eliminated and which molecular characteristics direct them for removal are fundamental questions. We reveal a mechanism, DesCEND (destruction via C-end degrons), by which CRL2 ubiquitin ligase uses interchangeable substrate receptors to recognize the unusual C termini of abnormal proteins (i.e., C-end degrons). C-end degrons are mostly less than ten residues in length and comprise a few indispensable residues along with some rather degenerate ones. The C-terminal end position is essential for C-end degron function. Truncated selenoproteins generated by translation errors and the USP1 N-terminal fragment from post-translational cleavage are eliminated by DesCEND. DesCEND also targets full-length proteins with naturally occurring C-end degrons. The C-end degron in DesCEND echoes the N-end degron in the N-end rule pathway, highlighting the dominance of protein "ends" as indicators for protein elimination.
Project description:This perspective is partly review and partly proposal. N-degrons and C-degrons are degradation signals whose main determinants are, respectively, the N-terminal and C-terminal residues of cellular proteins. N-degrons and C-degrons include, to varying extents, adjoining sequence motifs, and also internal lysine residues that function as polyubiquitylation sites. Discovered in 1986, N-degrons were the first degradation signals in short-lived proteins. A particularly large set of C-degrons was discovered in 2018. We describe multifunctional proteolytic systems that target N-degrons and C-degrons. We also propose to denote these systems as "N-degron pathways" and "C-degron pathways." The former notation replaces the earlier name "N-end rule pathways." The term "N-end rule" was introduced 33 years ago, when only some N-terminal residues were thought to be destabilizing. However, studies over the last three decades have shown that all 20 amino acids of the genetic code can act, in cognate sequence contexts, as destabilizing N-terminal residues. Advantages of the proposed terms include their brevity and semantic uniformity for N-degrons and C-degrons. In addition to being topologically analogous, N-degrons and C-degrons are related functionally. A proteolytic cleavage of a subunit in a multisubunit complex can create, at the same time, an N-degron (in a C-terminal fragment) and a spatially adjacent C-degron (in an N-terminal fragment). Consequently, both fragments of a subunit can be selectively destroyed through attacks by the N-degron and C-degron pathways.
Project description:NEDD8 (neural precursor cell expressed developmentally downregulated gene 8)-specific protease NEDP1 processes preNEDD8 to its mature form and deconjugates NEDD8 from substrates such as p53 and cullins. Although NEDD8 and ubiquitin are highly related in sequence and structure, their attachment to a protein leads to different biological effects. It is therefore critical that NEDP1 discriminates between NEDD8 and ubiquitin, and this requires remarkable precision in molecular recognition. To determine the basis of this specificity, we have determined the crystal structure of NEDP1 in isolation and in a transition state complex with NEDD8. This reveals that NEDP1 is a cysteine protease of the Ulp family. Binding of NEDD8 induces a dramatic conformational change in a flexible loop that swings over the C-terminus of NEDD8 locking it into an extended beta-structure optimal for catalysis. Structural, mutational and biochemical studies have identified key residues involved in molecular recognition. A single-residue difference in the C-terminus of NEDD8 and ubiquitin contributes significantly to the ability of NEDP1 to discriminate between them. In vivo analysis indicates that NEDP1 mutants perturb deNEDDylation of the tumour suppressor p53.
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:BACKGROUND: Tools for in vivo manipulation of protein abundance or activity are highly beneficial for life science research. Protein stability can be efficiently controlled by conditional degrons, which induce target protein degradation at restrictive conditions. RESULTS: We used the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae for development of a conditional, bidirectional degron to control protein stability, which can be fused to the target protein N-terminally, C-terminally or placed internally. Activation of the degron is achieved by cleavage with the tobacco etch virus (TEV) protease, resulting in quick proteolysis of the target protein. We found similar degradation rates of soluble substrates using destabilization by the N- or C-degron. C-terminal tagging of essential yeast proteins with the bidirectional degron resulted in deletion-like phenotypes at non-permissive conditions. Developmental process-specific mutants were created by N- or C-terminal tagging of essential proteins with the bidirectional degron in combination with sporulation-specific production of the TEV protease. CONCLUSIONS: We developed a system to influence protein abundance and activity genetically, which can be used to create conditional mutants, to regulate the fate of single protein domains or to design artificial regulatory circuits. Thus, this method enhances the toolbox to manipulate proteins in systems biology approaches considerably.
Project description:NEDDylation has been shown to participate in the DNA damage pathway, but the substrates of neural precursor cell expressed developmentally downregulated 8 (NEDD8) and the roles of NEDDylation involved in the DNA damage response (DDR) are largely unknown. Translesion synthesis (TLS) is a damage-tolerance mechanism, in which RAD18/RAD6-mediated monoubiquitinated proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) promotes recruitment of polymerase ? (pol?) to bypass lesions. Here we identify PCNA as a substrate of NEDD8, and show that E3 ligase RAD18-catalyzed PCNA NEDDylation antagonizes its ubiquitination. In addition, NEDP1 acts as the deNEDDylase of PCNA, and NEDP1 deletion enhances PCNA NEDDylation but reduces its ubiquitination. In response to H2O2 stimulation, NEDP1 disassociates from PCNA and RAD18-dependent PCNA NEDDylation increases markedly after its ubiquitination. Impairment of NEDDylation by Ubc12 knockout enhances PCNA ubiquitination and promotes PCNA-pol? interaction, while up-regulation of NEDDylation by NEDD8 overexpression or NEDP1 deletion reduces the excessive accumulation of ubiquitinated PCNA, thus inhibits PCNA-pol? interaction and blocks pol? foci formation. Moreover, Ubc12 knockout decreases cell sensitivity to H2O2-induced oxidative stress, but NEDP1 deletion aggravates this sensitivity. Collectively, our study elucidates the important role of NEDDylation in the DDR as a modulator of PCNA monoubiquitination and pol? recruitment.
Project description:The N-terminal residue influences protein stability through N-degron pathways. We used stability profiling of the human N-terminome to uncover multiple additional features of N-degron pathways. In addition to uncovering extended specificities of UBR E3 ligases, we characterized two related Cullin-RING E3 ligase complexes, Cul2ZYG11B and Cul2ZER1, that act redundantly to target N-terminal glycine. N-terminal glycine degrons are depleted at native N-termini but strongly enriched at caspase cleavage sites, suggesting roles for the substrate adaptors ZYG11B and ZER1 in protein degradation during apoptosis. Furthermore, ZYG11B and ZER1 were found to participate in the quality control of N-myristoylated proteins, in which N-terminal glycine degrons are conditionally exposed after a failure of N-myristoylation. Thus, an additional N-degron pathway specific for glycine regulates the stability of metazoan proteomes.
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:N(?)-terminal acetylation of cellular proteins was recently discovered to create specific degradation signals termed Ac/N-degrons and targeted by the Ac/N-end rule pathway. We show that Hcn1, a subunit of the APC/C ubiquitin ligase, contains an Ac/N-degron that is repressed by Cut9, another APC/C subunit and the ligand of Hcn1. Cog1, a subunit of the Golgi-associated COG complex, is also shown to contain an Ac/N-degron. Cog2 and Cog3, direct ligands of Cog1, can repress this degron. The subunit decoy technique was used to show that the long-lived endogenous Cog1 is destabilized and destroyed via its activated (unshielded) Ac/N-degron if the total level of Cog1 increased in a cell. Hcn1 and Cog1 are the first examples of protein regulation through the physiologically relevant transitions that shield and unshield natural Ac/N-degrons. This mechanistically straightforward circuit can employ the demonstrated conditionality of Ac/N-degrons to regulate subunit stoichiometries and other aspects of protein quality control.
Project description:NEDD8 is a ubiquitin-like protein that activates cullin-RING E3 ubiquitin ligases (CRLs). Here, we identify a novel role for NEDD8 in regulating the activity of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase 1 (PARP-1) in response to oxidative stress. We show that treatment of cells with H<sub>2</sub>O<sub>2</sub> results in the accumulation of NEDD8 chains, likely by directly inhibiting the deneddylase NEDP1. One chain type, an unanchored NEDD8 trimer, specifically bound to the second zinc finger domain of PARP-1 and attenuated its activation. In cells in which <i>Nedp1</i> is deleted, large amounts of tri-NEDD8 constitutively form, resulting in inhibition of PARP-1 and protection from PARP-1-dependent cell death. Surprisingly, these NEDD8 trimers are additionally acetylated, as shown by mass spectrometry analysis, and their binding to PARP-1 is reduced by the overexpression of histone de-acetylases, which rescues PARP-1 activation. Our data suggest that trimeric, acetylated NEDD8 attenuates PARP-1 activation after oxidative stress, likely to delay the initiation of PARP-1-dependent cell death.