register interest

Dr John Christianson

Research Area: Cell and Molecular Biology
Technology Exchange: Flow cytometry, Mass spectrometry, Protein interaction and Transcript profiling
Scientific Themes: Cancer Biology and Physiology, Cellular & Molecular Biology
Keywords: Ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS), ER-associated degradation (ERAD), protein quality control, ER stress, endoplasmic reticulum, metastasis and glycoproteins
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My lab’s principal focus is on ER-associated degradation (ERAD), a multifaceted process responsible for clearing non-functional and orphan translation products from the early secretory pathway. Ensuring the highest level of fidelity for the transiting protein load is essential, as unabated accumulation or exposure to the extracellular environment of misfolded proteins can negatively impact cellular homeostasis and viability. More than 40 unique proteins have been implicated in ERAD, many as part of transiently forming macromolecular complexes. Yet despite their implied role in ERAD, many of these factors remain poorly characterized. ERAD plays a central role in inherited disorders such as cystic fibrosis and α1-antitrypsin disease. Many studies have linked ERAD genes to various forms of cancer and recent evidence also suggests a novel role for ERAD in regulating tumor suppressor protein levels.

Our interests lie in characterizing essential components of the ERAD mechanism and identifying novel substrates of this pathway. We employ proteomic, cell biological, functional genomic and biochemical techniques to identify factors, characterize the complexes they function in, and understand the substrate-specificity with which they operate. We are keenly interested in understanding the role that quality control at the level of the ER plays in the expression of proteins responsible for tumor progression and metastasis. Our long term goals are to explore quality control mechanisms as a novel point of intervention for cancer therapies.

Name Department Institution Country
Professor Udo CT Oppermann Structural Genomics Consortium Oxford University, Old Road Campus Research Building United Kingdom
Professor Elizabeth Miller Cell Biology MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology United Kingdom
Professor Eric J Bennett Biological Sciences UC San Diego United States
Dr Eelco van Anken San Rafaelle Italy
Professor Ineke Braakman Utrecht University Netherlands
Professor Jane McKeating NDM Research Building Oxford University, NDM Research Building United Kingdom
Professor Yair Argon University of Pennsylvania United States
Professor Benedikt M Kessler Target Discovery Institute Oxford University, NDM Research Building United Kingdom
Professor Michael Boutros DKFZ Germany
Professor Ramanujan Hegde MRC-LMB United Kingdom
Professor Thorsten Hoppe University of Cologne Germany
Professor Mads Gyrd-Hansen Oxford Ludwig Institute Oxford University, Old Road Campus Research Building United Kingdom
Professor Nicole Zitzmann Oxford United Kingdom
Dr Sebastien Lacroix-Desmazes CNRS France
Vitale M, Bakunts A, Orsi A, Lari F, Tade L, Danieli A, Rato C, Valetti C, Sitia R, Raimondi A et al. 2019. Inadequate BiP availability defines endoplasmic reticulum stress ELIFE, 8 | Read more

Anzilotti C, Swan DJ, Boisson B, Deobagkar-Lele M, Oliveira C, Chabosseau P, Engelhardt KR, Xu X, Chen R, Alvarez L et al. 2019. An essential role for the Zn2+ transporter ZIP7 in B cell development. Nat Immunol, 20 (3), pp. 350-361. | Show Abstract | Read more

Despite the known importance of zinc for human immunity, molecular insights into its roles have remained limited. Here we report a novel autosomal recessive disease characterized by absent B cells, agammaglobulinemia and early onset infections in five unrelated families. The immunodeficiency results from hypomorphic mutations of SLC39A7, which encodes the endoplasmic reticulum-to-cytoplasm zinc transporter ZIP7. Using CRISPR-Cas9 mutagenesis we have precisely modeled ZIP7 deficiency in mice. Homozygosity for a null allele caused embryonic death, but hypomorphic alleles reproduced the block in B cell development seen in patients. B cells from mutant mice exhibited a diminished concentration of cytoplasmic free zinc, increased phosphatase activity and decreased phosphorylation of signaling molecules downstream of the pre-B cell and B cell receptors. Our findings highlight a specific role for cytosolic Zn2+ in modulating B cell receptor signal strength and positive selection.

Volkmar N, Thezenas M-L, Louie SM, Juszkiewicz S, Nomura DK, Hegde RS, Kessler BM, Christianson JC. 2019. The ER membrane protein complex promotes biogenesis of sterol-related enzymes maintaining cholesterol homeostasis. J Cell Sci, 132 (2), | Show Abstract | Read more

The eukaryotic endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane contains essential complexes that oversee protein biogenesis and lipid metabolism, impacting nearly all aspects of cell physiology. The ER membrane protein complex (EMC) is a newly described transmembrane domain (TMD) insertase linked with various phenotypes, but whose clients and cellular responsibilities remain incompletely understood. We report that EMC deficiency limits the cellular boundaries defining cholesterol tolerance, reflected by diminished viability with limiting or excessive extracellular cholesterol. Lipidomic and proteomic analyses revealed defective biogenesis and concomitant loss of the TMD-containing ER-resident enzymes sterol-O-acyltransferase 1 (SOAT1) and squalene synthase (SQS, also known as FDFT1), which serve strategic roles in the adaptation of cells to changes in cholesterol availability. Insertion of the weakly hydrophobic tail-anchor (TA) of SQS into the ER membrane by the EMC ensures sufficient flux through the sterol biosynthetic pathway while biogenesis of polytopic SOAT1 promoted by the EMC provides cells with the ability to store free cholesterol as inert cholesteryl esters. By facilitating insertion of TMDs that permit essential mammalian sterol-regulating enzymes to mature accurately, the EMC is an important biogenic determinant of cellular robustness to fluctuations in cholesterol availability.This article has an associated First Person interview with the first author of the paper.

Glaeser K, Urban M, Fenech E, Voloshanenko O, Kranz D, Lari F, Christianson JC, Boutros M. 2018. ERAD-dependent control of the Wnt secretory factor Evi. EMBO J, 37 (4), pp. e97311-e97311. | Show Abstract | Read more

Active regulation of protein abundance is an essential strategy to modulate cellular signaling pathways. Within the Wnt signaling cascade, regulated degradation of β-catenin by the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) affects the outcome of canonical Wnt signaling. Here, we found that abundance of the Wnt cargo receptor Evi (Wls/GPR177), which is required for Wnt protein secretion, is also regulated by the UPS through endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-associated degradation (ERAD). In the absence of Wnt ligands, Evi is ubiquitinated and targeted for ERAD in a VCP-dependent manner. Ubiquitination of Evi involves the E2-conjugating enzyme UBE2J2 and the E3-ligase CGRRF1. Furthermore, we show that a triaging complex of Porcn and VCP determines whether Evi enters the secretory or the ERAD pathway. In this way, ERAD-dependent control of Evi availability impacts the scale of Wnt protein secretion by adjusting the amount of Evi to meet the requirement of Wnt protein export. As Wnt and Evi protein levels are often dysregulated in cancer, targeting regulatory ERAD components might be a useful approach for therapeutic interventions.

Guna A, Volkmar N, Christianson JC, Hegde RS. 2018. The ER membrane protein complex is a transmembrane domain insertase. Science, 359 (6374), pp. 470-473. | Show Abstract | Read more

Insertion of proteins into membranes is an essential cellular process. The extensive biophysical and topological diversity of membrane proteins necessitates multiple insertion pathways that remain incompletely defined. Here we found that known membrane insertion pathways fail to effectively engage tail-anchored membrane proteins with moderately hydrophobic transmembrane domains. These proteins are instead shielded in the cytosol by calmodulin. Dynamic release from calmodulin allowed sampling of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), where the conserved ER membrane protein complex (EMC) was shown to be essential for efficient insertion in vitro and in cells. Purified EMC in synthetic liposomes catalyzed the insertion of its substrates in a reconstituted system. Thus, EMC is a transmembrane domain insertase, a function that may explain its widely pleiotropic membrane-associated phenotypes across organisms.

Schulz J, Avci D, Queisser MA, Gutschmidt A, Dreher L-S, Fenech EJ, Volkmar N, Hayashi Y, Hoppe T, Christianson JC. 2017. Conserved cytoplasmic domains promote Hrd1 ubiquitin ligase complex formation for ER-associated degradation (ERAD). J Cell Sci, 130 (19), pp. 3322-3335. | Show Abstract | Read more

The mammalian ubiquitin ligase Hrd1 is the central component of a complex facilitating degradation of misfolded proteins during the ubiquitin-proteasome-dependent process of ER-associated degradation (ERAD). Hrd1 associates with cofactors to execute ERAD, but their roles and how they assemble with Hrd1 are not well understood. Here, we identify crucial cofactor interaction domains within Hrd1 and report a previously unrecognised evolutionarily conserved segment within the intrinsically disordered cytoplasmic domain of Hrd1 (termed the HAF-H domain), which engages complementary segments in the cofactors FAM8A1 and Herp (also known as HERPUD1). This domain is required by Hrd1 to interact with both FAM8A1 and Herp, as well as to assemble higher-order Hrd1 complexes. FAM8A1 enhances binding of Herp to Hrd1, an interaction that is required for ERAD. Our findings support a model of Hrd1 complex formation, where the Hrd1 cytoplasmic domain and FAM8A1 have a central role in the assembly and activity of this ERAD machinery.

Elliott PR, Leske D, Hrdinka M, Bagola K, Fiil BK, McLaughlin SH, Wagstaff J, Volkmar N, Christianson JC, Kessler BM et al. 2016. SPATA2 Links CYLD to LUBAC, Activates CYLD, and Controls LUBAC Signaling. Mol Cell, 63 (6), pp. 990-1005. | Show Abstract | Read more

The linear ubiquitin chain assembly complex (LUBAC) regulates immune signaling, and its function is regulated by the deubiquitinases OTULIN and CYLD, which associate with the catalytic subunit HOIP. However, the mechanism through which CYLD interacts with HOIP is unclear. We here show that CYLD interacts with HOIP via spermatogenesis-associated protein 2 (SPATA2). SPATA2 interacts with CYLD through its non-canonical PUB domain, which binds the catalytic CYLD USP domain in a CYLD B-box-dependent manner. Significantly, SPATA2 binding activates CYLD-mediated hydrolysis of ubiquitin chains. SPATA2 also harbors a conserved PUB-interacting motif that selectively docks into the HOIP PUB domain. In cells, SPATA2 is recruited to the TNF receptor 1 signaling complex and is required for CYLD recruitment. Loss of SPATA2 increases ubiquitination of LUBAC substrates and results in enhanced NOD2 signaling. Our data reveal SPATA2 as a high-affinity binding partner of CYLD and HOIP, and a regulatory component of LUBAC-mediated NF-κB signaling.

Volkmar N, Fenech E, Christianson JC. 2016. New MAPS for misfolded proteins. Nat Cell Biol, 18 (7), pp. 724-726. | Show Abstract | Read more

Clearing misfolded proteins from the cytoplasm is essential to maintain cellular homeostasis. Now, a parallel clearance system is described that uses the deubiquitylase USP19 to enable secretion of misfolded cytoplasmic proteins when conventional proteasomal degradation is compromised. Misfolding-associated protein secretion (MAPS) has important implications for protein quality control and prion-like transmission.

Raducu M, Fung E, Serres S, Infante P, Barberis A, Fischer R, Bristow C, Thézénas M-L, Finta C, Christianson JC et al. 2016. SCF (Fbxl17) ubiquitylation of Sufu regulates Hedgehog signaling and medulloblastoma development. EMBO J, 35 (13), pp. 1400-1416. | Show Abstract | Read more

Skp1-Cul1-F-box protein (SCF) ubiquitin ligases direct cell survival decisions by controlling protein ubiquitylation and degradation. Sufu (Suppressor of fused) is a central regulator of Hh (Hedgehog) signaling and acts as a tumor suppressor by maintaining the Gli (Glioma-associated oncogene homolog) transcription factors inactive. Although Sufu has a pivotal role in Hh signaling, the players involved in controlling Sufu levels and their role in tumor growth are unknown. Here, we show that Fbxl17 (F-box and leucine-rich repeat protein 17) targets Sufu for proteolysis in the nucleus. The ubiquitylation of Sufu, mediated by Fbxl17, allows the release of Gli1 from Sufu for proper Hh signal transduction. Depletion of Fbxl17 leads to defective Hh signaling associated with an impaired cancer cell proliferation and medulloblastoma tumor growth. Furthermore, we identify a mutation in Sufu, occurring in medulloblastoma of patients with Gorlin syndrome, which increases Sufu turnover through Fbxl17-mediated polyubiquitylation and leads to a sustained Hh signaling activation. In summary, our findings reveal Fbxl17 as a novel regulator of Hh pathway and highlight the perturbation of the Fbxl17-Sufu axis in the pathogenesis of medulloblastoma.

Higgins R, Gendron JM, Rising L, Mak R, Webb K, Kaiser SE, Zuzow N, Riviere P, Yang B, Fenech E et al. 2015. The Unfolded Protein Response Triggers Site-Specific Regulatory Ubiquitylation of 40S Ribosomal Proteins. Mol Cell, 59 (1), pp. 35-49. | Show Abstract | Read more

Insults to ER homeostasis activate the unfolded protein response (UPR), which elevates protein folding and degradation capacity and attenuates protein synthesis. While a role for ubiquitin in regulating the degradation of misfolded ER-resident proteins is well described, ubiquitin-dependent regulation of translational reprogramming during the UPR remains uncharacterized. Using global quantitative ubiquitin proteomics, we identify evolutionarily conserved, site-specific regulatory ubiquitylation of 40S ribosomal proteins. We demonstrate that these events occur on assembled cytoplasmic ribosomes and are stimulated by both UPR activation and translation inhibition. We further show that ER stress-stimulated regulatory 40S ribosomal ubiquitylation occurs on a timescale similar to eIF2α phosphorylation, is dependent upon PERK signaling, and is required for optimal cell survival during chronic UPR activation. In total, these results reveal regulatory 40S ribosomal ubiquitylation as an important facet of eukaryotic translational control.

Dersh D, Jones SM, Eletto D, Christianson JC, Argon Y. 2014. OS-9 facilitates turnover of nonnative GRP94 marked by hyperglycosylation. Mol Biol Cell, 25 (15), pp. 2220-2234. | Show Abstract | Read more

The tight coupling of protein folding pathways with disposal mechanisms promotes the efficacy of protein production in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). It has been hypothesized that the ER-resident molecular chaperone glucose-regulated protein 94 (GRP94) is part of this quality control coupling because it supports folding of select client proteins yet also robustly associates with the lectin osteosarcoma amplified 9 (OS-9), a component involved in ER-associated degradation (ERAD). To explore this possibility, we investigated potential functions for the GRP94/OS-9 complex in ER quality control. Unexpectedly, GRP94 does not collaborate with OS-9 in ERAD of misfolded substrates, nor is the chaperone required directly for OS-9 folding. Instead, OS-9 binds preferentially to a subpopulation of GRP94 that is hyperglycosylated on cryptic N-linked glycan acceptor sites. Hyperglycosylated GRP94 forms have nonnative conformations and are less active. As a result, these species are degraded much faster than the major, monoglycosylated form of GRP94 in an OS-9-mediated, ERAD-independent, lysosomal-like mechanism. This study therefore clarifies the role of the GRP94/OS-9 complex and describes a novel pathway by which glycosylation of cryptic acceptor sites influences the function and fate of an ER-resident chaperone.

Tang H-Y, Huang C-H, Zhuang Y-H, Christianson JC, Chen X. 2014. EDEM2 and OS-9 are required for ER-associated degradation of non-glycosylated sonic hedgehog. PLoS One, 9 (6), pp. e92164. | Show Abstract | Read more

Misfolded proteins of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) are eliminated by the ER-associated degradation (ERAD) in eukaryotes. In S. cerevisiae, ER-resident lectins mediate substrate recognition through bipartite signals consisting of an unfolded local structure and the adjacent glycan. Trimming of the glycan is essential for the directional delivery of the substrates. Whether a similar recognition and delivery mechanism exists in mammalian cells is unknown. In this study, we systematically study the function and substrate specificity of known mammalian ER lectins, including EDEM1/2/3, OS-9 and XTP-3B using the recently identified ERAD substrate sonic hedgehog (SHH), a soluble protein carrying a single N-glycan, as well as its nonglycosylated mutant N278A. Efficient ERAD of N278A requires the core processing complex of HRD1, SEL1L and p97, similar to the glycosylated SHH. While EDEM2 was required for ERAD of both glycosylated and non-glycosylated SHHs, EDEM3 was only necessary for glycosylated SHH and EDEM1 was dispensable for both. Degradation of SHH and N278A also required OS-9, but not the related lectin XTP3-B. Robust interaction of both EDEM2 and OS-9 with a non-glycosylated SHH variant indicates that the misfolded polypeptide backbone, rather than a glycan signature, functions as the predominant signal for recognition for ERAD. Notably, SHH-N278A is the first nonglycosylated substrate to require EDEM2 for recognition and targeting for ERAD. EDEM2 also interacts with calnexin and SEL1L, suggesting a potential avenue by which misfolded glycoproteins may be shunted towards SEL1L and ERAD rather than being released into the secretory pathway. Thus, ER lectins participate in the recognition and delivery of misfolded ER substrates differently in mammals, with an underlying mechanism distinct from that of S. cerevisiae.

Christianson JC, Ye Y. 2014. Cleaning up in the endoplasmic reticulum: ubiquitin in charge. Nat Struct Mol Biol, 21 (4), pp. 325-335. | Show Abstract | Read more

The eukaryotic endoplasmic reticulum (ER) maintains protein homeostasis by eliminating unwanted proteins through the evolutionarily conserved ER-associated degradation (ERAD) pathway. During ERAD, maturation-defective and surplus polypeptides are evicted from the ER lumen and/or lipid bilayer through the process of retrotranslocation and ultimately degraded by the proteasome. An integral facet of the ERAD mechanism is the ubiquitin system, composed of the ubiquitin modifier and the factors for assembling, processing and binding ubiquitin chains on conjugated substrates. Beyond simply marking polypeptides for degradation, the ubiquitin system is functionally intertwined with retrotranslocation machinery to transport polypeptides across the ER membrane.

Pagotto A, Caballero OL, Volkmar N, Devalle S, Simpson AJG, Lu X, Christianson JC. 2013. Centrosomal localisation of the cancer/testis (CT) antigens NY-ESO-1 and MAGE-C1 is regulated by proteasome activity in tumour cells. PLoS One, 8 (12), pp. e83212. | Show Abstract | Read more

The Cancer/Testis (CT) antigen family of genes are transcriptionally repressed in most human tissues but are atypically re-expressed in many malignant tumour types. Their restricted expression profile makes CT antigens ideal targets for cancer immunotherapy. As little is known about whether CT antigens may be regulated by post-translational processing, we investigated the mechanisms governing degradation of NY-ESO-1 and MAGE-C1 in selected cancer cell lines. Inhibitors of proteasome-mediated degradation induced the partitioning of NY-ESO-1 and MAGE-C1 into a detergent insoluble fraction. Moreover, this treatment also resulted in increased localisation of NY-ESO-1 and MAGE-C1 at the centrosome. Despite their interaction, relocation of either NY-ESO-1 or MAGE-C1 to the centrosome could occur independently of each other. Using a series of truncated fragments, the regions corresponding to NY-ESO-1(91-150) and MAGE-C1(900-1116) were established as important for controlling both stability and localisation of these CT antigens. Our findings demonstrate that the steady state levels of NY-ESO-1 and MAGE-C1 are regulated by proteasomal degradation and that both behave as aggregation-prone proteins upon accumulation. With proteasome inhibitors being increasingly used as front-line treatment in cancer, these data raise issues about CT antigen processing for antigenic presentation and therefore immunogenicity in cancer patients.

Olzmann JA, Kopito RR, Christianson JC. 2013. The mammalian endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation system. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol, 5 (9), pp. a013185-a013185. | Show Abstract | Read more

The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is the site of synthesis for nearly one-third of the eukaryotic proteome and is accordingly endowed with specialized machinery to ensure that proteins deployed to the distal secretory pathway are correctly folded and assembled into native oligomeric complexes. Proteins failing to meet this conformational standard are degraded by ER-associated degradation (ERAD), a complex process through which folding-defective proteins are selected and ultimately degraded by the ubiquitin-proteasome system. ERAD proceeds through four tightly coupled steps involving substrate selection, dislocation across the ER membrane, covalent conjugation with polyubiquitin, and proteasomal degradation. The ERAD machinery shows a modular organization with central ER membrane-embedded ubiquitin ligases linking components responsible for recognition in the ER lumen to the ubiquitin-proteasome system in the cytoplasm. The core ERAD machinery is highly conserved among eukaryotes and much of our basic understanding of ERAD organization has been derived from genetic and biochemical studies of yeast. In this article we discuss how the core ERAD machinery is organized in mammalian cells.

Cited:

227

Scopus

Christianson JC, Olzmann JA, Shaler TA, Sowa ME, Bennett EJ, Richter CM, Tyler RE, Greenblatt EJ, Wade Harper J, Kopito RR. 2012. Defining human ERAD networks through an integrative mapping strategy Nature Cell Biology, 14 (1), pp. 93-105. | Show Abstract | Read more

Proteins that fail to correctly fold or assemble into oligomeric complexes in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) are degraded by a ubiquitin-and proteasome-dependent process known as ER-associated degradation (ERAD). Although many individual components of the ERAD system have been identified, how these proteins are organized into a functional network that coordinates recognition, ubiquitylation and dislocation of substrates across the ER membrane is not well understood. We have investigated the functional organization of the mammalian ERAD system using a systems-level strategy that integrates proteomics, functional genomics and the transcriptional response to ER stress. This analysis supports an adaptive organization for the mammalian ERAD machinery and reveals a number of metazoan-specific genes not previously linked to ERAD.

Wang Y, Pearce MMP, Sliter DA, Olzmann JA, Christianson JC, Kopito RR, Boeckmann S, Gagen C, Leichner GS, Roitelman J, Wojcikiewicz RJH. 2009. SPFH1 and SPFH2 mediate the ubiquitination and degradation of inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptors in muscarinic receptor-expressing HeLa cells. Biochim Biophys Acta, 1793 (11), pp. 1710-1718. | Show Abstract | Read more

Inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (IP(3)) receptors are endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane calcium channels that, upon activation, become substrates for the ER-associated degradation (ERAD) pathway. While it is clear that IP(3) receptors are polyubiquitinated and are transferred to the proteasome by a p97-based complex, currently very little is known about the proteins that initially select activated IP(3) receptors for ERAD. Here, we have transfected HeLa cells to stably express m3 muscarinic receptors to allow for the study of IP(3) receptor ERAD in this cell type, and show that IP(3) receptors are polyubiquitinated and then degraded by the proteasome in response to carbachol, a muscarinic agonist. In seeking to identify proteins that mediate IP(3) receptor ERAD we found that both SPFH1 and SPFH2 (also known as erlin 1 and erlin 2), which exist as a hetero-oligomeric complex, rapidly associate with IP(3) receptors in a manner that precedes polyubiquitination and the association of p97. Suppression of SPFH1 and SPFH2 expression by RNA interference markedly inhibited carbachol-induced IP(3) receptor polyubiquitination and degradation, but did not affect carbachol-induced calcium mobilization or IkappaBalpha processing, indicating that the SPFH1/2 complex is a key player in IP(3) receptor ERAD, acting at a step after IP(3) receptor activation, but prior to IP(3) receptor polyubiquitination. Suppression of SPFH1 and SPFH2 expression had only slight effects on the turnover of some exogenous model ERAD substrates, and had no effect on sterol-induced ERAD of endogenous 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase. Overall, these studies show that m3 receptor-expressing HeLa cells are a valuable system for studying IP(3) receptor ERAD, and suggest that the SPFH1/2 complex is a factor that selectively mediates the ERAD of activated IP(3) receptors.

Christianson JC, Shaler TA, Tyler RE, Kopito RR. 2008. OS-9 and GRP94 deliver mutant alpha1-antitrypsin to the Hrd1-SEL1L ubiquitin ligase complex for ERAD. Nat Cell Biol, 10 (3), pp. 272-282. | Show Abstract | Read more

Terminally misfolded or unassembled proteins in the early secretory pathway are degraded by a ubiquitin- and proteasome-dependent process known as ER-associated degradation (ERAD). How substrates of this pathway are recognized within the ER and delivered to the cytoplasmic ubiquitin-conjugating machinery is unknown. We report here that OS-9 and XTP3-B/Erlectin are ER-resident glycoproteins that bind to ERAD substrates and, through the SEL1L adaptor, to the ER-membrane-embedded ubiquitin ligase Hrd1. Both proteins contain conserved mannose 6-phosphate receptor homology (MRH) domains, which are required for interaction with SEL1L, but not with substrate. OS-9 associates with the ER chaperone GRP94 which, together with Hrd1 and SEL1L, is required for the degradation of an ERAD substrate, mutant alpha(1)-antitrypsin. These data suggest that XTP3-B and OS-9 are components of distinct, partially redundant, quality control surveillance pathways that coordinate protein folding with membrane dislocation and ubiquitin conjugation in mammalian cells.

DeLaBarre B, Christianson JC, Kopito RR, Brunger AT. 2006. Central pore residues mediate the p97/VCP activity required for ERAD. Mol Cell, 22 (4), pp. 451-462. | Show Abstract | Read more

The AAA-ATPase p97/VCP facilitates protein dislocation during endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation (ERAD). To understand how p97/VCP accomplishes dislocation, a series of point mutants was made to disrupt distinguishing structural features of its central pore. Mutants were evaluated in vitro for ATPase activity in the presence and absence of synaptotagmin I (SytI) and in vivo for ability to process the ERAD substrate TCRalpha. Synaptotagmin induces a 4-fold increase in the ATPase activity of wild-type p97/VCP (p97/VCP(wt)), but not in mutants that showed an ERAD impairment. Mass spectrometry of crosslinked synaptotagmin . p97/VCP revealed interactions near Trp551 and Phe552. Additionally, His317, Arg586, and Arg599 were found to be essential for substrate interaction and ERAD. Except His317, which serves as an interaction nexus, these residues all lie on prominent loops within the D2 pore. These data support a model of substrate dislocation facilitated by interactions with p97/VCP's D2 pore.

Iwata A, Christianson JC, Bucci M, Ellerby LM, Nukina N, Forno LS, Kopito RR. 2005. Increased susceptibility of cytoplasmic over nuclear polyglutamine aggregates to autophagic degradation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 102 (37), pp. 13135-13140. | Show Abstract | Read more

CNS neurons are endowed with the ability to recover from cytotoxic insults associated with the accumulation of proteinaceous aggregates in mouse models of polyglutamine disease, but the cellular mechanism underlying this phenomenon is unknown. Here, we show that autophagy is essential for the elimination of aggregated forms of mutant huntingtin and ataxin-1 from the cytoplasmic but not nuclear compartments. Human orthologs of yeast autophagy genes, molecular determinants of autophagic vacuole formation, are recruited to cytoplasmic but not nuclear inclusion bodies in vitro and in vivo. These data indicate that autophagy is a critical component of the cellular clearance of toxic protein aggregates and may help to explain why protein aggregates are more toxic when directed to the nucleus.

Christianson JC, Green WN. 2004. Regulation of nicotinic receptor expression by the ubiquitin-proteasome system. EMBO J, 23 (21), pp. 4156-4165. | Show Abstract | Read more

Control of ligand-gated ion channel (LGIC) expression is essential for the formation, maintenance and plasticity of synapses. Treatment of mouse myotubes with proteasome inhibitors increased the number of surface nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (AChRs), indicating LGIC expression is regulated by the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS). Elevated surface expression resulted from increased AChR delivery to the plasma membrane and not from decreased turnover from the surface. The rise in AChR trafficking was the direct result of increased assembly of subunits in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Because proteasome inhibitors also blocked ER-associated degradation (ERAD) of unassembled AChR subunits, the data indicate that the additional AChRs were assembled from subunits normally targeted for ERAD. Our data show that AChR surface expression is regulated by the UPS through ERAD, whose activity determines oligomeric receptor assembly efficiency.

Wanamaker CP, Christianson JC, Green WN. 2003. Regulation of nicotinic acetylcholine receptor assembly. Ann N Y Acad Sci, 998 (1), pp. 66-80. | Show Abstract | Read more

The four muscle-type nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (AChR) subunits, alpha, beta, gamma, and delta, assemble into functional alpha(2)betagammadelta pentamers in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) through a series of interdependent folding and oligomerization events. The first stable assembly intermediate is a trimer composed of alpha, beta, and gamma subunits. The formation of alphabetagamma trimers initiates a series of subunit folding and processing events that allow addition of delta subunits to form alphabetagammadelta tetramers. Subunit folding and processing continue with formation of the ligand-binding sites on the alpha subunit of alphabetagammadelta tetramers and the second alpha subunit added to assemble alpha(2)betagammadelta pentamers. AChR assembly is inefficient. Only 20-30% of synthesized subunits assemble into mature receptors in the ER, while the remaining unassembled subunits are degraded. However, the efficiency of subunit assembly can be regulated under certain conditions leading to higher AChR expression. Increased intracellular cAMP levels cause a 2- to 3-fold increase in AChR assembly efficiency and a comparable increase in surface expression. Additionally, block of ubiquitin-proteasome degradation appears to enhance AChR assembly and expression. Thus, the regulation of AChR assembly through posttranslational mechanisms is a potential therapeutic target for increasing AChR expression in diseases in which expression is compromised.

Christianson JC, Green WN. 1997. Proteosomes contribute to the degradation of unassembled acetylcholine receptor subunits MOLECULAR BIOLOGY OF THE CELL, 8 pp. 1795-1795.

Nagata A, Christianson JC. 1995. M-wave modulation at relative levels of maximal voluntary contraction. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol, 71 (1), pp. 77-86. | Show Abstract | Read more

Frequency (mean and median power frequency, f and fm) and amplitude (average rectified and root mean square values, ARV and rms), parameters of the M-wave, and the dorsiflexor force parameters of the anterior tibial muscles were measured in seven healthy human subjects. Intermittent, voluntary contractions at relative intensities (40%, 60%, and 80%) of maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) were performed in conjunction with electrical stimulation. The M-wave parameter changes were measured over the course of the isometric contractions. At higher force levels, M-wave potentiation was observed as increases in both ARV and rms. The ARV augmentation attained levels as high as 206.1 (SD 7.4)% of resting values after both initial and final contractions of 80% MVC, reaching statistical significance (P < 0.01). The f and fm failed to show a significant difference at any level of contraction. It was surmised that potentiation of the M-wave was the result of an increased contribution of muscle fibre type IIb recruited during higher contraction levels, reflecting the change to larger, deeper innervating motoneurons as the intensity of contraction, as a percentage of MVC, rose. Recruitment of type IIb fibres, which have been reported to have a higher energy potential and frequency content, were thought to reflect changes in the local excitability threshold of some motor units as the force intensity increased during the intermittent voluntary contractions. It is suggested that the M-wave elicited after contractions has the potential to reflect, to some extent, motor unit recruitment changes resulting from the preceding contractions, and that through comparisons of M-wave amplitude parameters contributions of varying fibre types over the course of a contraction may be indicated.

Vitale M, Bakunts A, Orsi A, Lari F, Tadè L, Danieli A, Rato C, Valetti C, Sitia R, Raimondi A et al. 2019. Inadequate BiP availability defines endoplasmic reticulum stress. Elife, 8 | Show Abstract | Read more

How endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress leads to cytotoxicity is ill-defined. Previously we showed that HeLa cells readjust homeostasis upon proteostatically driven ER stress, triggered by inducible bulk expression of secretory immunoglobulin M heavy chain (μs) thanks to the unfolded protein response (UPR; Bakunts et al., 2017). Here we show that conditions that prevent that an excess of the ER resident chaperone (and UPR target gene) BiP over µs is restored lead to µs-driven proteotoxicity, i.e. abrogation of HRD1-mediated ER-associated degradation (ERAD), or of the UPR, in particular the ATF6α branch. Such conditions are tolerated instead upon removal of the BiP-sequestering first constant domain (CH1) from µs. Thus, our data define proteostatic ER stress to be a specific consequence of inadequate BiP availability, which both the UPR and ERAD redeem.

Anzilotti C, Swan DJ, Boisson B, Deobagkar-Lele M, Oliveira C, Chabosseau P, Engelhardt KR, Xu X, Chen R, Alvarez L et al. 2019. An essential role for the Zn2+ transporter ZIP7 in B cell development. Nat Immunol, 20 (3), pp. 350-361. | Show Abstract | Read more

Despite the known importance of zinc for human immunity, molecular insights into its roles have remained limited. Here we report a novel autosomal recessive disease characterized by absent B cells, agammaglobulinemia and early onset infections in five unrelated families. The immunodeficiency results from hypomorphic mutations of SLC39A7, which encodes the endoplasmic reticulum-to-cytoplasm zinc transporter ZIP7. Using CRISPR-Cas9 mutagenesis we have precisely modeled ZIP7 deficiency in mice. Homozygosity for a null allele caused embryonic death, but hypomorphic alleles reproduced the block in B cell development seen in patients. B cells from mutant mice exhibited a diminished concentration of cytoplasmic free zinc, increased phosphatase activity and decreased phosphorylation of signaling molecules downstream of the pre-B cell and B cell receptors. Our findings highlight a specific role for cytosolic Zn2+ in modulating B cell receptor signal strength and positive selection.

Volkmar N, Thezenas M-L, Louie SM, Juszkiewicz S, Nomura DK, Hegde RS, Kessler BM, Christianson JC. 2019. The ER membrane protein complex promotes biogenesis of sterol-related enzymes maintaining cholesterol homeostasis. J Cell Sci, 132 (2), | Show Abstract | Read more

The eukaryotic endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane contains essential complexes that oversee protein biogenesis and lipid metabolism, impacting nearly all aspects of cell physiology. The ER membrane protein complex (EMC) is a newly described transmembrane domain (TMD) insertase linked with various phenotypes, but whose clients and cellular responsibilities remain incompletely understood. We report that EMC deficiency limits the cellular boundaries defining cholesterol tolerance, reflected by diminished viability with limiting or excessive extracellular cholesterol. Lipidomic and proteomic analyses revealed defective biogenesis and concomitant loss of the TMD-containing ER-resident enzymes sterol-O-acyltransferase 1 (SOAT1) and squalene synthase (SQS, also known as FDFT1), which serve strategic roles in the adaptation of cells to changes in cholesterol availability. Insertion of the weakly hydrophobic tail-anchor (TA) of SQS into the ER membrane by the EMC ensures sufficient flux through the sterol biosynthetic pathway while biogenesis of polytopic SOAT1 promoted by the EMC provides cells with the ability to store free cholesterol as inert cholesteryl esters. By facilitating insertion of TMDs that permit essential mammalian sterol-regulating enzymes to mature accurately, the EMC is an important biogenic determinant of cellular robustness to fluctuations in cholesterol availability.This article has an associated First Person interview with the first author of the paper.

Glaeser K, Urban M, Fenech E, Voloshanenko O, Kranz D, Lari F, Christianson JC, Boutros M. 2018. ERAD-dependent control of the Wnt secretory factor Evi. EMBO J, 37 (4), pp. e97311-e97311. | Show Abstract | Read more

Active regulation of protein abundance is an essential strategy to modulate cellular signaling pathways. Within the Wnt signaling cascade, regulated degradation of β-catenin by the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) affects the outcome of canonical Wnt signaling. Here, we found that abundance of the Wnt cargo receptor Evi (Wls/GPR177), which is required for Wnt protein secretion, is also regulated by the UPS through endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-associated degradation (ERAD). In the absence of Wnt ligands, Evi is ubiquitinated and targeted for ERAD in a VCP-dependent manner. Ubiquitination of Evi involves the E2-conjugating enzyme UBE2J2 and the E3-ligase CGRRF1. Furthermore, we show that a triaging complex of Porcn and VCP determines whether Evi enters the secretory or the ERAD pathway. In this way, ERAD-dependent control of Evi availability impacts the scale of Wnt protein secretion by adjusting the amount of Evi to meet the requirement of Wnt protein export. As Wnt and Evi protein levels are often dysregulated in cancer, targeting regulatory ERAD components might be a useful approach for therapeutic interventions.

Guna A, Volkmar N, Christianson JC, Hegde RS. 2018. The ER membrane protein complex is a transmembrane domain insertase. Science, 359 (6374), pp. 470-473. | Show Abstract | Read more

Insertion of proteins into membranes is an essential cellular process. The extensive biophysical and topological diversity of membrane proteins necessitates multiple insertion pathways that remain incompletely defined. Here we found that known membrane insertion pathways fail to effectively engage tail-anchored membrane proteins with moderately hydrophobic transmembrane domains. These proteins are instead shielded in the cytosol by calmodulin. Dynamic release from calmodulin allowed sampling of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), where the conserved ER membrane protein complex (EMC) was shown to be essential for efficient insertion in vitro and in cells. Purified EMC in synthetic liposomes catalyzed the insertion of its substrates in a reconstituted system. Thus, EMC is a transmembrane domain insertase, a function that may explain its widely pleiotropic membrane-associated phenotypes across organisms.

Schulz J, Avci D, Queisser MA, Gutschmidt A, Dreher L-S, Fenech EJ, Volkmar N, Hayashi Y, Hoppe T, Christianson JC. 2017. Conserved cytoplasmic domains promote Hrd1 ubiquitin ligase complex formation for ER-associated degradation (ERAD). J Cell Sci, 130 (19), pp. 3322-3335. | Show Abstract | Read more

The mammalian ubiquitin ligase Hrd1 is the central component of a complex facilitating degradation of misfolded proteins during the ubiquitin-proteasome-dependent process of ER-associated degradation (ERAD). Hrd1 associates with cofactors to execute ERAD, but their roles and how they assemble with Hrd1 are not well understood. Here, we identify crucial cofactor interaction domains within Hrd1 and report a previously unrecognised evolutionarily conserved segment within the intrinsically disordered cytoplasmic domain of Hrd1 (termed the HAF-H domain), which engages complementary segments in the cofactors FAM8A1 and Herp (also known as HERPUD1). This domain is required by Hrd1 to interact with both FAM8A1 and Herp, as well as to assemble higher-order Hrd1 complexes. FAM8A1 enhances binding of Herp to Hrd1, an interaction that is required for ERAD. Our findings support a model of Hrd1 complex formation, where the Hrd1 cytoplasmic domain and FAM8A1 have a central role in the assembly and activity of this ERAD machinery.

Christianson JC, Ye Y. 2014. Cleaning up in the endoplasmic reticulum: ubiquitin in charge. Nat Struct Mol Biol, 21 (4), pp. 325-335. | Show Abstract | Read more

The eukaryotic endoplasmic reticulum (ER) maintains protein homeostasis by eliminating unwanted proteins through the evolutionarily conserved ER-associated degradation (ERAD) pathway. During ERAD, maturation-defective and surplus polypeptides are evicted from the ER lumen and/or lipid bilayer through the process of retrotranslocation and ultimately degraded by the proteasome. An integral facet of the ERAD mechanism is the ubiquitin system, composed of the ubiquitin modifier and the factors for assembling, processing and binding ubiquitin chains on conjugated substrates. Beyond simply marking polypeptides for degradation, the ubiquitin system is functionally intertwined with retrotranslocation machinery to transport polypeptides across the ER membrane.

Cited:

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Scopus

Christianson JC, Olzmann JA, Shaler TA, Sowa ME, Bennett EJ, Richter CM, Tyler RE, Greenblatt EJ, Wade Harper J, Kopito RR. 2012. Defining human ERAD networks through an integrative mapping strategy Nature Cell Biology, 14 (1), pp. 93-105. | Show Abstract | Read more

Proteins that fail to correctly fold or assemble into oligomeric complexes in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) are degraded by a ubiquitin-and proteasome-dependent process known as ER-associated degradation (ERAD). Although many individual components of the ERAD system have been identified, how these proteins are organized into a functional network that coordinates recognition, ubiquitylation and dislocation of substrates across the ER membrane is not well understood. We have investigated the functional organization of the mammalian ERAD system using a systems-level strategy that integrates proteomics, functional genomics and the transcriptional response to ER stress. This analysis supports an adaptive organization for the mammalian ERAD machinery and reveals a number of metazoan-specific genes not previously linked to ERAD.

Christianson JC, Shaler TA, Tyler RE, Kopito RR. 2008. OS-9 and GRP94 deliver mutant alpha1-antitrypsin to the Hrd1-SEL1L ubiquitin ligase complex for ERAD. Nat Cell Biol, 10 (3), pp. 272-282. | Show Abstract | Read more

Terminally misfolded or unassembled proteins in the early secretory pathway are degraded by a ubiquitin- and proteasome-dependent process known as ER-associated degradation (ERAD). How substrates of this pathway are recognized within the ER and delivered to the cytoplasmic ubiquitin-conjugating machinery is unknown. We report here that OS-9 and XTP3-B/Erlectin are ER-resident glycoproteins that bind to ERAD substrates and, through the SEL1L adaptor, to the ER-membrane-embedded ubiquitin ligase Hrd1. Both proteins contain conserved mannose 6-phosphate receptor homology (MRH) domains, which are required for interaction with SEL1L, but not with substrate. OS-9 associates with the ER chaperone GRP94 which, together with Hrd1 and SEL1L, is required for the degradation of an ERAD substrate, mutant alpha(1)-antitrypsin. These data suggest that XTP3-B and OS-9 are components of distinct, partially redundant, quality control surveillance pathways that coordinate protein folding with membrane dislocation and ubiquitin conjugation in mammalian cells.

DeLaBarre B, Christianson JC, Kopito RR, Brunger AT. 2006. Central pore residues mediate the p97/VCP activity required for ERAD. Mol Cell, 22 (4), pp. 451-462. | Show Abstract | Read more

The AAA-ATPase p97/VCP facilitates protein dislocation during endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation (ERAD). To understand how p97/VCP accomplishes dislocation, a series of point mutants was made to disrupt distinguishing structural features of its central pore. Mutants were evaluated in vitro for ATPase activity in the presence and absence of synaptotagmin I (SytI) and in vivo for ability to process the ERAD substrate TCRalpha. Synaptotagmin induces a 4-fold increase in the ATPase activity of wild-type p97/VCP (p97/VCP(wt)), but not in mutants that showed an ERAD impairment. Mass spectrometry of crosslinked synaptotagmin . p97/VCP revealed interactions near Trp551 and Phe552. Additionally, His317, Arg586, and Arg599 were found to be essential for substrate interaction and ERAD. Except His317, which serves as an interaction nexus, these residues all lie on prominent loops within the D2 pore. These data support a model of substrate dislocation facilitated by interactions with p97/VCP's D2 pore.

Iwata A, Christianson JC, Bucci M, Ellerby LM, Nukina N, Forno LS, Kopito RR. 2005. Increased susceptibility of cytoplasmic over nuclear polyglutamine aggregates to autophagic degradation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 102 (37), pp. 13135-13140. | Show Abstract | Read more

CNS neurons are endowed with the ability to recover from cytotoxic insults associated with the accumulation of proteinaceous aggregates in mouse models of polyglutamine disease, but the cellular mechanism underlying this phenomenon is unknown. Here, we show that autophagy is essential for the elimination of aggregated forms of mutant huntingtin and ataxin-1 from the cytoplasmic but not nuclear compartments. Human orthologs of yeast autophagy genes, molecular determinants of autophagic vacuole formation, are recruited to cytoplasmic but not nuclear inclusion bodies in vitro and in vivo. These data indicate that autophagy is a critical component of the cellular clearance of toxic protein aggregates and may help to explain why protein aggregates are more toxic when directed to the nucleus.

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