Degron capability of the hydrophobic C-terminus of the polyglutamine disease protein, ataxin-3.J Neurosci Res. 2020 Jul 09 [Online ahead of print]JN
Ataxin-3 is a deubiquitinase and polyglutamine disease protein whose cellular properties and functions are not entirely understood. Mutations in ataxin-3 cause spinocerebellar ataxia type 3 (SCA3), a neurodegenerative disorder that is a member of the polyglutamine family of diseases. Two major isoforms arise from alternative splicing of ATXN3 and are differently toxic in vivo as a result of faster proteasomal degradation of one isoform compared to the other. The isoforms vary only at their C-termini, suggesting that the hydrophobic C-terminus of the more quickly degraded form of ataxin-3 (here referred to as isoform 2) functions as a degron-that is, a peptide sequence that expedites the degradation of its host protein. We explored this notion in this study and present evidence that: (a) the C-terminus of ataxin-3 isoform 2 signals its degradation in a proteasome-dependent manner, (b) this effect from the C-terminus of isoform 2 does not require the ubiquitination of ataxin-3, and (c) the isolated C-terminus of isoform 2 can enhance the degradation of an unrelated protein. According to our data, the C-terminus of ataxin-3 isoform 2 is a degron, increasing overall understanding of the cellular properties of the SCA3 protein.