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Exp Mol Pathol. 2003 Apr;74(2):160-7.

The mechanism of cytokeratin aggresome formation: the role of mutant ubiquitin (UBB+1).

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, CA 90509, USA.


Aggresome formation in cells involves the failure of the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway to dispose of proteins destined for degradation by the 26S proteasome. UBB(+1) is present in Mallory bodies in alcoholic liver disease and in aggresomes formed in Alzheimer's desease. The present investigation focuses on the role that UBB(+1) plays in cytokeratin aggresome formation in Mallory bodies (MBs) in vitro. Immunoprecipitation with a monoclonal antibody to cytokeratin-8 (CK-8) was used. The immunoprecipitate was incubated for 24 h in the presence of different constituents involved in aggresome formation including ubiquitin, UBB(+1), the proteasome inhibitor PS341, an ATP generating energy source, a deubiquitinating enzyme inhibitor, a purified proteasome fraction, and an E(1-3) conjugating enzyme fraction. MB-like protein aggregates formed in the presence of ubiquitin, plus UBB(+1) or PS341. These aggregates stained positively for CK-8. UBB(+1), and a proteasome subunit Tbp7, as demonstrated on Western blots. A second approach was used to form MBs in vitro in cultured hepatocytes transfected with UBB(+1) protein using Chariot. The cells were double stained using CK-8 and ubiquitin antibodies. The two proteins colocalized in MB-like aggregates. The results support the possibility that aggresome formation is a complex multifactor process, which is favored by inhibition of the proteasome and by the presence of UBB(+1).

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