C-Terminal End-Directed Protein Elimination by CRL2 Ubiquitin Ligases.
ABSTRACT: 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: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: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: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:Selenocysteine (Sec) is translated from the codon UGA, typically a termination signal. Codon duality extends the genetic code; however, the coexistence of two competing UGA-decoding mechanisms immediately compromises proteome fidelity. Selenium availability tunes the reassignment of UGA to Sec. We report a CRL2 ubiquitin ligase-mediated protein quality-control system that specifically eliminates truncated proteins that result from reassignment failures. Exposing the peptide immediately N-terminal to Sec, a CRL2 recognition degron, promotes protein degradation. Sec incorporation destroys the degron, protecting read-through proteins from detection by CRL2. Our findings reveal a coupling between directed translation termination and proteolysis-assisted protein quality control, as well as a cellular strategy to cope with fluctuations in organismal selenium intake.
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:The N-end rule relates the regulation of the in vivo half-life of a protein to the identity of its N-terminal residue. Degradation signals (degrons) that are targeted by the N-end rule pathway include a set called N-degrons. The main determinant of an N-degron is a destabilizing N-terminal residue of a protein. In eukaryotes, the N-end rule pathway is a part of the ubiquitin system and consists of two branches, the Ac/N-end rule and the Arg/N-end rule pathways. The Ac/N-end rule pathway targets proteins containing N(?) -terminally acetylated (Nt-acetylated) residues. The Arg/N-end rule pathway recognizes unacetylated N-terminal residues and involves N-terminal arginylation. Together, these branches target for degradation a majority of cellular proteins. For example, more than 80% of human proteins are cotranslationally Nt-acetylated. Thus most proteins harbor a specific degradation signal, termed (Ac)N-degron, from the moment of their birth. Specific N-end rule pathways are also present in prokaryotes and in mitochondria. Enzymes that produce N-degrons include methionine-aminopeptidases, caspases, calpains, Nt-acetylases, Nt-amidases, arginyl-transferases and leucyl-transferases. Regulated degradation of specific proteins by the N-end rule pathway mediates a legion of physiological functions, including the sensing of heme, oxygen, and nitric oxide; selective elimination of misfolded proteins; the regulation of DNA repair, segregation and condensation; the signaling by G proteins; the regulation of peptide import, fat metabolism, viral and bacterial infections, apoptosis, meiosis, spermatogenesis, neurogenesis, and cardiovascular development; and the functioning of adult organs, including the pancreas and the brain. Discovered 25 years ago, this pathway continues to be a fount of biological insights.
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: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:Aberrant endoplasmic reticulum (ER) proteins are eliminated by ER-associated degradation (ERAD). This process involves protein retrotranslocation into the cytosol, ubiquitylation, and proteasomal degradation. ERAD substrates are classified into three categories based on the location of their degradation signal/degron: ERAD-L (lumen), ERAD-M (membrane), and ERAD-C (cytosol) substrates. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the membrane proteins Hrd1 and Doa10 are the predominant ERAD ubiquitin-protein ligases (E3s). The current notion is that ERAD-L and ERAD-M substrates are exclusively handled by Hrd1, whereas ERAD-C substrates are recognized by Doa10. In this paper, we identify the transmembrane (TM) protein Sec61 ?-subunit homologue 2 (Sbh2) as a Doa10 substrate. Sbh2 is part of the trimeric Ssh1 complex involved in protein translocation. Unassembled Sbh2 is rapidly degraded in a Doa10-dependent manner. Intriguingly, the degron maps to the Sbh2 TM region. Thus, in contrast to the prevailing view, Doa10 (and presumably its human orthologue) has the capacity for recognizing intramembrane degrons, expanding its spectrum of substrates.