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EMBO J. 2003 Jul 15;22(14):3536-45.

The C-terminal T peptide of acetylcholinesterase enhances degradation of unassembled active subunits through the ERAD pathway.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Neurobiologie Cellulaire et Moléculaire, CNRS UMR 8544, Ecole Normale Supérieure, 46 rue d'Ulm, 75230 Paris Cedex 05, France.


The catalytic domain of acetylcholinesterase AChE(T) subunits is followed by a C-terminal T peptide which mediates their association with the proline-rich attachment domain (PRAD) of anchoring proteins. Addition of the T peptide induced intracellular degradation and concomitantly reduced to variable degrees the secretion of AChE species differing in their oligomerization capacity and of human alkaline phosphatase. The T peptide forms an amphiphilic alpha-helix, containing a series of conserved aromatic residues. Replacement of two, four or five aromatic residues gradually suppressed degradation and increased secretion. Co-expression with a PRAD- containing protein induced the assembly of PRAD-linked tetramers in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and allowed partial secretion of a dimerization- defective mutant; by masking the aromatic side chains, hetero-oligomerization rescued this enzyme from degradation. Degradation was due to ERAD, since it was not blocked by brefeldin A but was sensitive to proteasome inhibitors. Kifunensine reduced degradation, suggesting a cooperativity between the glycosylated catalytic domain and the non-glycosylated T peptide. This system appears particularly well suited to analyze the mechanisms which determine the degradation of correctly folded multidomain proteins in the ER.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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