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Hum Mol Genet. 2016 Apr 1;25(7):1392-405. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddw021. Epub 2016 Jan 28.

Monoubiquitination of survival motor neuron regulates its cellular localization and Cajal body integrity.

Author information

1
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, CO 80015, USA and.
2
Department of Oncology, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA.
3
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, CO 80015, USA and changwei.liu@ucdenver.edu.

Abstract

Low levels of the survival motor neuron (SMN) protein cause spinal muscular atrophy, the leading genetic disorder for infant mortality. SMN is ubiquitously expressed in various cell types and localizes in both the cytoplasm and the nucleus, where it concentrates in two subnuclear structures termed Cajal body (CB) and gems. In addition, SMN can also be detected in the nucleolus of neurons. Mechanisms that control SMN sorting in the cell remain largely unknown. Here, we report that the ubiquitin (Ub) ligase Itch directly interacts with and monoubiquitinates SMN. Monoubiquitination of SMN has a mild effect on promoting proteasomal degradation of SMN. We generated two SMN mutants, SMN(K0), in which all lysines are mutated to arginines and thereby abolishing SMN ubiquitination, and Ub-SMN(K0), in which a single Ub moiety is fused at the N-terminus of SMN(K0) and thereby mimicking SMN monoubiquitination. Immunostaining assays showed that SMN(K0) mainly localizes in the nucleus, whereas Ub-SMN(K0) localizes in both the cytoplasm and the nucleolus in neuronal SH-SY5Y cells. Interestingly, canonical CB foci and coilin/small nuclear ribonucleoprotein (snRNP) co-localization are significantly impaired in SH-SY5Y cells stably expressing SMN(K0) or Ub-SMN(K0). Thus, our studies discover that Itch monoubiquitinates SMN and monoubiquitination of SMN plays an important role in regulating its cellular localization. Moreover, mislocalization of SMN disrupts CB integrity and likely impairs snRNP maturation.

PMID:
26908624
PMCID:
PMC4787908
DOI:
10.1093/hmg/ddw021
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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