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FEBS J. 2008 Feb;275(4):682-92. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-4658.2007.06230.x. Epub 2008 Jan 10.

Brox, a novel farnesylated Bro1 domain-containing protein that associates with charged multivesicular body protein 4 (CHMP4).

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1
Department of Applied Molecular Biosciences, Graduate School of Bioagricultural Sciences, Nagoya University, Japan.

Abstract

Human Brox is a newly identified 46 kDa protein that has a Bro1 domain-like sequence and a C-terminal thioester-linkage site of isoprenoid lipid (CAAX motif) (C standing for cysteine, A for generally aliphatic amino acid, and X for any amino acid). Mammalian Alix and its yeast ortholog, Bro1, are known to associate with charged multivesicular body protein 4 (CHMP4), a component of endosomal sorting complex required for transport III, via their Bro1 domains and to play roles in sorting of ubiquitinated cargoes. We investigated whether Brox has an authentic Bro1 domain on the basis of its capacity for interacting with CHMP4s. Both Strep Tactin binding sequence (Strep)-tagged wild-type Brox (Strep-Brox(WT)) and Strep-tagged farnesylation-defective mutant (Cys-->Ser mutation; Strep-Brox(C408S)) pulled down FLAG-tagged CHMP4b that was coexpressed in HEK293 cells. Treatment of cells with a farnesyltransferase inhibitor, FTI-277, caused an electrophoretic mobility shift of Strep-Brox(WT), and the mobility coincided with that of Strep-Brox(C408S). The inhibitor also caused a mobility shift of endogenous Brox detected by western blotting using polyclonal antibodies to Brox, suggesting farnesylation of Brox in vivo. Fluorescence microscopic analyses revealed that Strep-Brox(WT) exhibited accumulation in the perinuclear area and caused a punctate pattern of FLAG-CHMP4b that was constitutively expressed in HEK293 cells. On the other hand, Strep-Brox(C408S) showed a diffuse pattern throughout the cell, including the nucleus, and did not cause accumulation of FLAG-CHMP4b. Fluorescent signals of monomeric green fluorescent protein (mGFP)-fused Brox(WT) merged partly with those of Golgi markers and with those of abnormal endosomes induced by overexpression of a dominant negative mutant of AAA type ATPase SKD1/Vps4B in HeLa cells, but such colocalization was less efficient for mGFP-Brox(C408S). These results suggest a physiological significance of farnesylation of Brox in its subcellular distribution and efficient interaction with CHMP4s in vivo.

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