The endosomal sorting complexes required for transport (ESCRT) pathway facilitates multiple fundamental membrane remodeling events. Previously, we determined X-ray crystal structures of the ESCRT-III subunit, the yeast CHMP4 ortholog, Snf7, in its active and polymeric state (Tang et al., 2015). However, how ESCRT-III activation is coordinated by the upstream ESCRT components at endosomes remains unclear. Here, we provide a molecular explanation for the functional divergence of structurally similar ESCRT-III subunits. We characterize novel mutations in ESCRT-III Snf7 that trigger activation, and identify a novel role of the yeast ALIX ortholog, Bro1, in Snf7 assembly. We show that upstream ESCRTs regulate Snf7 activation at both its N-terminal core domain and the C-terminus α6 helix through two parallel ubiquitin-dependent pathways: the ESCRT-I-ESCRT-II-Vps20 pathway and the ESCRT-0-Bro1 pathway. We therefore provide an enhanced understanding for the activation of the spatially unique ESCRT-III-mediated membrane remodeling.
- William I Weis, Stanford University, United States
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