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J Biol Chem. 2010 Dec 17;285(51):40192-200. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.131615. Epub 2010 Aug 15.

Ubiquitin proteasome-dependent degradation of the transcriptional coactivator PGC-1{alpha} via the N-terminal pathway.

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Department of Pediatrics, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, Missouri 63110, USA.


PGC-1α is a potent, inducible transcriptional coactivator that exerts control on mitochondrial biogenesis and multiple cellular energy metabolic pathways. PGC-1α levels are controlled in a highly dynamic manner reflecting regulation at both transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels. Here, we demonstrate that PGC-1α is rapidly degraded in the nucleus (t(½ 0.3 h) via the ubiquitin proteasome system. An N-terminal deletion mutant of 182 residues, PGC182, as well as a lysine-less mutant form, are nuclear and rapidly degraded (t(½) 0.5 h), consistent with degradation via the N terminus-dependent ubiquitin subpathway. Both PGC-1α and PGC182 degradation rates are increased in cells under low serum conditions. However, a naturally occurring N-terminal splice variant of 270 residues, NT-PGC-1α is cytoplasmic and stable (t(½>7 h), providing additional evidence that PGC-1α is degraded in the nucleus. These results strongly suggest that the nuclear N terminus-dependent ubiquitin proteasome pathway governs PGC-1α cellular degradation. In contrast, the cellular localization of NT-PCG-1α results in a longer-half-life and possible distinct temporal and potentially biological actions.

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