Protein Synthesis and Degradation
- Squalene monooxygenase (SM, also known as squalene epoxidase) is a rate-limiting enzyme of cholesterol synthesis that converts squalene to monooxidosqualene and is oncogenic in numerous cancer types. SM is subject to feedback regulation via cholesterol-induced proteasomal degradation, which depends on its lipid-sensing N-terminal regulatory domain. We previously identified an endogenous truncated form of SM with a similar abundance to full-length SM, but whether this truncated form is functional or subject to the same regulatory mechanisms as full-length SM is not known.
- Cholesterol synthesis is a tightly regulated process, both transcriptionally and post-translationally. Transcriptional control of cholesterol synthesis is relatively well-understood. However, of the ∼20 enzymes in cholesterol biosynthesis, post-translational regulation has only been examined for a small number. Three of the four sterol reductases in cholesterol production, 7-dehydrocholesterol reductase (DHCR7), 14-dehydrocholesterol reductase (DHCR14), and lamin-B receptor (LBR), share evolutionary ties with a high level of sequence homology and predicted structural homology.
- The E3 ligase membrane-associated ring-CH-type finger 6 (MARCH6) is a polytopic enzyme bound to the membranes of the endoplasmic reticulum. It controls levels of several known protein substrates, including a key enzyme in cholesterol synthesis, squalene monooxygenase. However, beyond its own autodegradation, little is known about how MARCH6 itself is regulated. Using CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing, MARCH6 overexpression, and immunoblotting, we found here that cholesterol stabilizes MARCH6 protein endogenously and in HEK293 cells that stably express MARCH6.
- To be, or not to be … What determines the destruction of a protein in response to metabolic cues? In the current issue of JBC, Wangeline and Hampton shed new light on this existential question by studying the classic case of HMGCR (Hmg2 in yeast), the rate-limiting step in sterol synthesis, and find a metabolic cue that causes “allosteric misfolding” and subsequent destruction of the protein, a concept they name mallostery.