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A role for the ubiquitin domain protein HERP in ER-associated protein degradation

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Abstract (Summary)
ER-associated protein degradation (ERAD) is part of the ER quality control system dealing with the accumulation of misfolded proteins in the ER. This process requires polyubiquitylation of ERAD substrates involving E3 ligases, such as HRD1, and their subsequent extraction from the ER membrane by the p97-Ufd1-Npl4 complex. Retrotranslocation of substrates into the cytosol for degradation by the 26S proteasome also involves the membrane proteins Derlin-1 and VIMP, which are associated with p97 to form a protein complex. The ER-resident protein HERP was shown to be upregulated by the unfolded protein response pathway (UPR) upon the accumulation of misfolded proteins in the ER. It was therefore considered to function in ERAD. Interestingly, HERP contains a UBL domain. In other proteins this domain facilitates an interaction with the proteasome, suggesting that HERP might recruit the proteasome to the ER membrane for efficient ERAD. The aim of this study was to investigate the function of HERP within the UPR. The findings presented here demonstrate that HERP is essential for the degradation of a model ERAD substrate. Thus, HERP indeed has a role in ERAD. Moreover, the data show that HERP directly interacts with the E3 ligase HRD1 and the two proteins form a common protein complex with p97, Derlin-1 and possibly also with VIMP. This suggests that both ubiquitylation and retrotranslocation of ER proteins are performed by one protein complex, enabling an efficient processing of ERAD substrates. This study also demonstrates that the UBL domain of HERP does not share the proteasome binding property of other UBL domains, suggesting that proteasome binding cannot be considered a general feature of all UBL domains. Instead, the HERP UBL domain is able to interact with the deubiquitylating enzyme USP7. Therefore, deubiquitylation might also be an important aspect in the proteasome-dependent degradation of misfolded ER proteins.
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School:Oberlin College

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

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