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J Biol Chem. 2006 Nov 17;281(46):35359-68. Epub 2006 Sep 20.

The role of a novel p97/valosin-containing protein-interacting motif of gp78 in endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation.

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  • 1Medical Biotechnology Center, University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute, Baltimore, Maryland 21201, USA.


Improperly folded proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) are eliminated via ER-associated degradation, a process that dislocates misfolded proteins from the ER membrane into the cytosol, where they undergo proteasomal degradation. Dislocation requires a subclass of ubiquitin ligases that includes gp78 in addition to the AAA ATPase p97/VCP and its cofactor, the Ufd1-Npl4 dimer. We have previously reported that gp78 interacts directly with p97/VCP. Here, we identify a novel p97/VCP-interacting motif (VIM) within gp78 that mediates this interaction. We demonstrate that the VIM of gp78 recruits p97/VCP to the ER, but has no effect on Ufd1 localization. We also show that gp78 VIM interacts with the ND1 domain of p97/VCP that was shown previously to be the binding site for Ufd1. To evaluate the role of Ufd1 in gp78-p97/VCP-mediated degradation of CD3delta, a known substrate of gp78, RNA interference was used to silence the expression of Ufd1 and p97/VCP. Inhibition of p97/VCP, but not Ufd1, stabilized CD3delta in cells that overexpress gp78. However, both p97/VCP and Ufd1 appear to be required for CD3delta degradation in cells expressing physiological levels of gp78. These results raise the possibility that Ufd1 and gp78 may bind p97/VCP in a mutually exclusive manner and suggest that gp78 might act in a Ufd1-independent degradation pathway for misfolded ER proteins, which operates in parallel with the previously established p97/VCP-Ufd1-Npl4-mediated mechanism.

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