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Biochem J. 2007 Jul 15;405(2):341-9.

Proteasome-mediated CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein delta (C/EBPdelta) degradation is ubiquitin-independent.

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The Ohio State Biochemistry Program, Department of Veterinary Biosciences, The Ohio State University, 1925 Coffey Road, Columbus, OH 43210-1093, USA.


C/EBPdelta (CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein delta) is a member of the C/EBP family of nuclear proteins that function in the control of cell growth, survival, differentiation and apoptosis. We previously demonstrated that C/EBPdelta gene transcription is highly induced in G(0) growth-arrested mammary epithelial cells but the C/EBPdelta protein exhibits a t(1/2) of only approximately 120 min. The goal of the present study was to investigate the role of C/EBPdelta modification by ubiquitin and C/EBPdelta proteasome-mediated degradation. Structural and mutational analyses demonstrate that an intact leucine zipper is required for C/EBPdelta ubiquitination; however, the leucine zipper does not provide lysine residues for ubiquitin conjugation. C/EBPdelta ubiquitination is not required for proteasome-mediated C/EBPdelta degradation and the presence of ubiquitin does not increase C/EBPdelta degradation by the proteasome. Instead, the leucine zipper stabilizes the C/EBPdelta protein by forming homodimers that are poor substrates for proteasome degradation. To investigate the cellular conditions associated with C/EBPdelta ubiquitination we treated G(0) growth-arrested mammary epithelial cells with DNA-damage- and oxidative-stress-inducing agents and found that C/EBPdelta ubiquitination is induced in response to H2O2. However, C/EBPdelta protein stability is not influenced by H2O2 treatment. In conclusion, our results demonstrate that proteasome-mediated protein degradation of C/EBPdelta is ubiquitin-independent.

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