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J Biol Chem. 2004 Mar 19;279(12):11471-9. Epub 2003 Dec 18.

The HECT domain ligase itch ubiquitinates endophilin and localizes to the trans-Golgi network and endosomal system.

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Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Montréal Neurological Institute, McGill University, 3801 University St., Montréal, Quebec H3A 2B4, Canada.


Endophilin A1 is an SH3 domain-containing protein functioning in membrane trafficking on the endocytic pathway. We have identified the E3 ubiquitin ligase itch/AIP4 as an endophilin A1-binding partner. Itch belongs to the Nedd4/Rsp5p family of proteins and contains an N-terminal C2 domain, four WW domains and a catalytic HECT domain. Unlike other Nedd4/Rsp5p family members, itch possesses a short proline-rich domain that mediates its binding to the SH3 domain of endophilin A1. Itch ubiquitinates endophilin A1 and the SH3/proline-rich domain interaction facilitates this activity. Interestingly, itch co-localizes with markers of the endosomal system in a C2 domain-dependent manner and upon EGF stimulation, endophilin A1 translocates to an EGF-positive endosomal compartment where it colocalizes with itch. Moreover, EGF treatment of cells stimulates endophilin A1 ubiquitination. We have thus identified endophilin A1 as a substrate for the endosome-localized ubiquitin ligase itch. This interaction may be involved in ubiquitin-mediated sorting mechanisms operating at the level of endosomes.

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