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Biochem J. 2005 Dec 15;392(Pt 3):601-6.

The role of Ca2+ in triggering inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor ubiquitination.

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Department of Pharmacology, SUNY Upstate Medical University, 750 East Adams Street, Syracuse, NY 13210-2339, USA.


The IP3R (inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor) forms tetrameric Ca2+ channels in ER (endoplasmic reticulum) membranes, where channel activity is largely under the control of the co-agonists IP3 and Ca2+. In cells stimulated using extracellular ligands that persistently elevate phosphoinositidase C activity, IP3Rs are rapidly ubiquitinated and then degraded by the proteasome through as yet undefined mechanisms. Whereas binding of IP3 has been suggested to be a key event in the triggering of IP3R ubiquitination the role of Ca2+ in this process remains unknown. In the present study we use alphaT3-1 mouse pituitary cells expressing exogenous wild-type or mutant-type-I IP3Rs (IP3R1) to provide several lines of evidence that Ca2+ is also a trigger. Firstly, depletion of ER Ca2+ stores with thapsigargin blocked wild-type IP3R1 ubiquitination. Secondly, ubiquitination was blocked by mutating Glu2100 to Asp, which is known to markedly suppress Ca2+-binding to IP3R1 and the potency of Ca2+ as a stimulus for channel opening. Thirdly, mutating Asp2550 to Ala, which inhibits Ca2+ flux through the channel pore, partially inhibited ubiquitination indicating that Ca2+ released via wild-type IP3R1 contributes to triggering ubiquitination. Fourthly, and consistent with this conclusion, although suppression of increases in cytoplasmic Ca2+ concentration did not inhibit the ubiquitination of wild-type IP3R1, it strongly inhibited the ubiquitination of the Asp2550 to Ala mutant. Overall, these results show that Ca2+ plays an important role in triggering IP3R ubiquitination. Additional experiments with IP3R1 containing an Arg265 to Gln mutation, which decreases IP3-binding affinity, confirmed that IP3-binding also plays a role. Finally, the mutations at Glu2100, Asp2550 and Arg265 inhibited IP3R1 degradation to an extent that paralleled their inhibitory effects on ubiquitination. We conclude that IP3R ubiquitination and degradation are triggered by the concerted action of IP3- and Ca2+-binding.

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