In addition to its well-known role in recognition by the proteasome, ubiquitin-conjugation is also involved in downregulation of membrane receptors, transporters and channels. In most cases, ubiquitination of these plasma membrane proteins leads to their internalization followed by targeting to the lysosome/vacuole for degradation. A crucial role in ubiquitination of many plasma membrane proteins appears to be played by ubiquitin-protein ligases of the Nedd4/Rsp5p family. All family members carry an N-terminal Ca2+-dependent lipid/protein binding (C2) domain, two to four WW domains and a C-terminal catalytic Hect-domain. Nedd4 is involved in downregulation of the epithelial Na+ channel, by binding of its WW domains to specific PY motifs of the channel. Rsp5p, the unique family member in S. cerevisiae, is involved in ubiquitin-dependent endocytosis of a great number of yeast plasma membrane proteins. These proteins lack apparent PY motifs, but carry acidic sequences, and/or phosphorylated-based sequences that might be important, directly or indirectly, for their recognition by Rsp5p. In contrast to polyubiquitination leading to proteasomal recognition, a number of Rsp5p targets carry few ubiquitins per protein, and moreover with a different ubiquitin linkage. Accumulating evidence suggests that, at least in yeast, ubiquitin itself may constitute an internalization signal, recognized by a hypothetical receptor. Recent data also suggest that Nedd4/Rsp5p might play a role in the endocytic process possibly involving its C2 domain, in addition to its role in ubiquitinating endocytosed proteins.
The Journal of Membrane Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 1, 2000
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