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FEBS Lett. 1999 Apr 9;448(2-3):244-8.

A RING-H2 finger motif is essential for the function of Der3/Hrd1 in endoplasmic reticulum associated protein degradation in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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Institut für Biochemie, Universität Stuttgart, Germany.


Der3/Hrd1p is a protein required for proper degradation of misfolded soluble and integral membrane proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. It is located to the ER membrane and consists of a N-terminal hydrophobic region with several transmembrane domains and a large hydrophilic tail oriented to the ER lumen containing a RING finger motif of the H2 class. We had previously reported that a truncated version of Der3p, Der3deltaRp, lacking 111 residues of the lumenal domain including the RING finger motif is not functional, suggesting the involvement of this domain in the function of the protein in ER degradation. We substantiated this hypothesis by constructing a mutated form of Der3/Hrd1p replacing the last cysteine of the motif with a serine. This mutated Der3(C399S) protein maintains the correct localization and topology of the wild-type protein, however, is not able to support the degradation of soluble and integral membrane proteins. This point mutation altering the RING-H2 motif behaves as a dominant allele especially when overexpressed from a 2mu plasmid by this increasing the half-life of CPY* more than 6-fold when compared with a wild-type strain. Furthermore coexpression of der3(C399S) with the wild-type allele is also able to partially suppress the temperature sensitive growth phenotype of a sec61-2 strain. Finally we have shown that overexpression of Hrd3p suppresses the dominant effect of the der3(C399S) mutation. These results could be explained by a competition between wild-type and mutant Der3 protein for the interaction with some other component of the ER degradation pathway, probably Hrd3p.

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