Many membrane proteins fold inefficiently and require the help of enzymes and chaperones. Here we reveal a novel folding assistance system that operates on membrane proteins from the cytosolic side of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). We show that folding of the Wnt signaling coreceptor LRP6 is promoted by ubiquitination of a specific lysine, retaining it in the ER while avoiding degradation. Subsequent ER exit requires removal of ubiquitin from this lysine by the deubiquitinating enzyme USP19. This ubiquitination-deubiquitination is conceptually reminiscent of the glucosylation-deglucosylation occurring in the ER lumen during the calnexin/calreticulin folding cycle. To avoid infinite futile cycles, folded LRP6 molecules undergo palmitoylation and ER export, while unsuccessfully folded proteins are, with time, polyubiquitinated on other lysines and targeted to degradation. This ubiquitin-dependent folding system also controls the proteostasis of other membrane proteins as CFTR and anthrax toxin receptor 2, two poor folders involved in severe human diseases.
- Laurence Abrami
- Gisou van der Goot
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Matthew Freeman, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
© 2016, Perrody et al.
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