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Mol Cell Biol. 1995 Oct;15(10):5339-45.

N- and C-terminal sequences control degradation of MAD3/I kappa B alpha in response to inducers of NF-kappa B activity.

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  • 1Unité de Biologie Moléculaire de l'Expression Génique, URA 1149 Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France.


The proteolytic degradation of the inhibitory protein MAD3/I kappa B alpha in response to extracellular stimulation is a prerequisite step in the activation of the transcription factor NF-kappa B. Analysis of the expression of human I kappa B alpha protein in stable transfectants of mouse 70Z/3 cells shows that, as for the endogenous murine protein, exogenous I kappa B alpha is degraded in response to inducers of NF-kappa B activity, such as phorbol myristate acetate or lipopolysaccharide. In addition, pretreatment of the cells with the proteasome inhibitor N-Ac-Leu-Leu-norleucinal inhibits this ligand-induced degradation and, in agreement with previous studies, stabilizes a hyperphosphorylated form of the human I kappa B alpha protein. By expressing mutant forms of the human protein in this cell line, we have been able to delineate the sequences responsible for both the ligand-induced phosphorylation and the degradation of I kappa B alpha. Our results show that deletion of the C terminus of the I kappa B alpha molecule up to amino acid 279 abolishes constitutive but not ligand-inducible phosphorylation and inhibits ligand-inducible degradation. Further analysis reveals that the inducible phosphorylation of I kappa B alpha maps to two serines in the N terminus of the protein (residues 32 and 36) and that the mutation of either residue is sufficient to abolish ligand-induced degradation, whereas both residues must be mutated to abolish inducible phosphorylation of the protein. We propose that treatment of 70Z/3 cells with either phorbol myristate acetate or lipopolysaccharide induces a kinase activity which phosphorylates serines 32 and that these phosphorylations target the protein for rapid proteolytic degradation, possibly by the ubiquitin-26S proteasome pathway, thus allowing NF-kappa B to translocate to the nucleus and to activate gene expression.

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