Regulation of ubiquitin-proteasome system-mediated degradation by cytosolic stress

Sean M. Kelly, Judy K. VanSlyke, Linda S. Musil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


ER-associated, ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS)-mediated degradation of the wild-type (WT) gap junction protein connexin32 (Cx32) is inhibited by mild forms of cytosolic stress at a step before its dislocation into the cytosol. We show that the same conditions (a 30-min, 42°C heat shock or oxidative stress induced by arsenite) also reduce the endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-associated turnover of disease-causing mutants of Cx32 and the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR), as well as that of WT CFTR and unassembled Ig light chain. Stress-stabilized WT Cx32 and CFTR, but not the mutant/unassembled proteins examined, could traverse the secretory pathway. Heat shock also slowed the otherwise rapid UPS-mediated turnover of the cytosolic proteins myoD and GFPu, but not the degradation of an ubiquitination-independent construct (GFP-ODC) closely related to the latter. Analysis of mutant Cx32 from cells exposed to proteasome inhibitors and/or cytosolic stress indicated that stress reduces degradation at the level of substrate polyubiquitination. These findings reveal a new link between the cytosolic stress-induced heat shock response, ER-associated degradation, and polyubiquitination. Stress-denatured proteins may titer a limiting component of the ubiquitination machinery away from pre-existing UPS substrates, thereby sparing the latter from degradation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4279-4291
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular biology of the cell
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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