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17.01.2017

Protein DENEDDYLASE1 counters automodification of neddylating enzymes in Arabidopsis

In eukaryotes, the conjugation of the ubiquitinlike protein NEDD8 onto protein targets is an important post-translational modification. Little is known about the role of other deneddylating enzymes the role of neddylation and deneddylation of their substrates.


In eukaryotes, the conjugation of the ubiquitinlikeprotein NEDD8 onto protein targets is an important post-translational modification. The best understood neddylation targets are the cullins, scaffold subunits of E3 ubiquitin ligases, where neddylation as well as deneddylation, facilitated by the protease activity of the CSN (COP9 signalosome), are required to control ubiquitin ligase assembly, function and ultimately substrate degradation. Little is known about the role of other deneddylating enzymes besides CSN and the role of neddylation and deneddylation of their substrates. We previously characterized Arabidopsis thaliana mutants with defects in the conserved NEDD8-specific protease DEN1 (DENEDDYLASE1). These mutants display only subtle growth phenotypes despite the strong accumulation of a broad range of neddylated proteins. Specifically, we identified AXR1 (AUXIN RESISTANT1), a subunit of the heterodimeric NAE (E1 NEDD8 ACTIVATING ENZYME), as highly neddylated in den1 mutants. Here, we examine the mechanism and conequences of AXR1 neddylation in more detail. We find that AXR1 as well as other neddylation enzymes are autoneddylated at multiple lysines. NAE autoneddylation can be linked to reduced NCE (E2 NEDD8 CONJUGATING ENZYME) NEDD8 thioester levels, either by critically reducing the pool of free NEDD8 or by reducing NAE activity. In planta, increasing NEDD8 gene dosage is sufficient to suppress den1 mutant phenotypes. We therefore suggest that DEN1 serves to recover diverted NEDD8 moieties from autoneddylated NAE subunits, and possibly also other neddylated proteins, in order to maintain NEDD8 pathway activitiy towards other NEDD8-dependent processes.

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