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J Biol Chem. 2015 Feb 6;290(6):3308-32. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M114.611525. Epub 2014 Dec 1.

Human liver cytochrome P450 3A4 ubiquitination: molecular recognition by UBC7-gp78 autocrine motility factor receptor and UbcH5a-CHIP-Hsc70-Hsp40 E2-E3 ubiquitin ligase complexes.

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From the Departments of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology.
Pharmaceutical Chemistry, and.
From the Departments of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, and Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, The Liver Center, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94158-2517


CYP3A4 is an abundant and catalytically dominant human liver endoplasmic reticulum-anchored cytochrome P450 enzyme engaged in the biotransformation of endo- and xenobiotics, including >50% of clinically relevant drugs. Alterations of CYP3A4 protein turnover can influence clinically relevant drug metabolism and bioavailability and drug-drug interactions. This CYP3A4 turnover involves endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation via the ubiquitin (Ub)-dependent 26 S proteasomal system that relies on two highly complementary E2 Ub-conjugating-E3 Ub-ligase (UBC7-gp78 and UbcH5a-C terminus of Hsc70-interacting protein (CHIP)-Hsc70-Hsp40) complexes, as well as protein kinases (PK) A and C. We have documented that CYP3A4 Ser/Thr phosphorylation (Ser(P)/Thr(P)) by PKA and/or PKC accelerates/enhances its Lys ubiquitination by either of these E2-E3 systems. Intriguingly, CYP3A4 Ser(P)/Thr(P) and ubiquitinated Lys residues reside within the cytosol-accessible surface loop and/or conformationally assembled acidic Asp/Glu clusters, leading us to propose that such post-translational Ser/Thr protein phosphorylation primes CYP3A4 for ubiquitination. Herein, this possibility was examined through various complementary approaches, including site-directed mutagenesis, chemical cross-linking, peptide mapping, and LC-MS/MS analyses. Our findings reveal that such CYP3A4 Asp/Glu/Ser(P)/Thr(P) surface clusters are indeed important for its intermolecular electrostatic interactions with each of these E2-E3 subcomponents. By imparting additional negative charge to these Asp/Glu clusters, such Ser/Thr phosphorylation would generate P450 phosphodegrons for molecular recognition by the E2-E3 complexes, thereby controlling the timing of CYP3A4 ubiquitination and endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation. Although the importance of phosphodegrons in the CHIP targeting of its substrates is known, to our knowledge this is the first example of phosphodegron involvement in gp78-substrate recruitment, an important step in CYP3A4 proteasomal degradation.


CHIP; CYP3A4; Cytochrome P450; E3 Ubiquitin Ligase; Endoplasmic Reticulum-associated Protein Degradation (ERAD); Mass Spectrometry (MS); Protein Phosphorylation; Ubiquitin-conjugating Enzyme (E2 enzyme); Ubiquitylation (ubiquitination); gp78/AMFR

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