Proper functioning of the protein-folding quality control network depends on the network's ability to discern diverse structural perturbations to the native states of its protein substrates. Despite the centrality of the detection of misfolded states to cell homeostasis, very little is known about the exact sequence and structural features that mark a protein as being misfolded. To investigate these features, we studied the requirements for the degradation of the yeast kinetochore protein Ndc10p. Mutant Ndc10p is a substrate of a protein-folding quality control pathway mediated by the E3 ubiquitin (Ub) ligase Doa10p at the endoplasmic reticulum (ER)/nuclear envelope membrane. Analysis of Ndc10p mutant derivatives, employing a reverse genetics approach, identified an autonomous quality control-associated degradation motif near the C-terminus of the protein. This motif is composed of two indispensable hydrophobic elements: a hydrophobic surface of an amphipathic helix and a loosely structured hydrophobic C-terminal tail. Site-specific point mutations expose these elements, triggering ubiquitin-mediated and HSP70 chaperone-dependent degradation of Ndc10p. These findings substantiate the ability of the ER quality control system to recognize subtle perturbation(s) in the native structure of a nuclear protein.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology