Disturbance of proteasomal and autophagic protein degradation pathways by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis-linked mutations in ubiquilin 2

Mayuko Osaka, Daisuke Ito, Norihiro Suzuki

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28 Citations (Scopus)


Ubiquilin (UBQLN), a member of the ubiquitin-like (UBL)-ubiquitin-associated (UBA) family, is a dual regulator of both the proteasomal and autophagic branches of the cellular protein degradation system. Mutations in the UBQLN2 gene encoding ubiquilin 2 cause X-linked amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)/frontotemporal dementia (FTD), and UBQLN2-positive inclusions have been identified in ALS patients with UBQLN2 mutations as well as in cases of both familial and sporadic ALS without UBQLN2 mutations. Compelling evidence links UBQLN2 to disturbance of the protein quality control network in neurons, but the pathomechanisms remain obscure. This study aimed to clarify how ALS-linked mutations in UBQLN2 affect the protein degradation system. Overexpression of a UBQLN2 with ALS-associated mutations resulted in the accumulation of polyubiquitinated proteins in neuronal cells, including the ALS-associated protein TDP-43. This effect was dependent on the UBA domain but not on inclusion formation. Immunocytochemistry and protein fractionation analysis of IVm-UBQLN2 cellular distribution indicated that it sequesters ubiquitinated substrates from both the proteasomal and autophagic branches of the protein degradation system, resulting in accumulation of polyubiquitinated substrates. These findings provide a molecular basis for the development of ALS/FTD-associated proteinopathy and establish novel therapeutic targets for ALS.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2016 Feb 17



  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Autophagy
  • Frontotemporal dementia
  • Ubiquilin
  • Ubiquitin-proteasome system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics
  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology

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