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Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2013;77(8):1715-21. Epub 2013 Aug 7.

VPS37 isoforms differentially modulate the ternary complex formation of ALIX, ALG-2, and ESCRT-I.

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


The endosomal sorting complex required for transport (ESCRT) system comprises a series of protein complexes that play essential roles in multivesicular body (MVB) sorting of ubiquitylated membrane proteins, enveloped RNA virus budding, and cytokinesis in mammalian cells. The complex, named ESCRT-I, consists of four subunits (TSG101, VPS28, VPS37, and MVB12). There are four VPS37 isoforms. We have reported that ALIX (an ALG-2-interacting protein and accessory protein in the ESCRT system) is physically linked with TSG101 by ALG-2 in a Ca²⁺-dependent manner, but the role of ALG-2 as an adaptor protein for the ESCRT-I complex remains unknown. To characterize this adaptor function, initially we investigated the binding of ALG-2 to ESCRT-I complexes containing each one of the four different VPS37 isoforms by two approaches: first, Far-Western blot analysis with biotin-labeled ALG-2 probe, and second, a pulldown assay to determine the binding of the four recombinant ESCRT-I complexes to Strep-tagged ALG-2 after co-expression in HEK293T cells. VPS37B and VPS37C appeared to interact with ALG-2 in a stronger manner than TSG101 does. The results of in vitro binding assays using purified recombinant proteins indicated that ALG-2 functions as a Ca²⁺-dependent adaptor protein that bridges ALIX and ESCRT-I to form a ternary complex, ESCRT-I/ALIX/ALG-2.

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