Mitochondrion-dependent N-terminal processing of outer membrane Mcl-1 protein removes an essential Mule/Lasu1 protein-binding site.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


J Biol Chem, Volume 286, Issue 28, p.25098-107 (2011)


Animals, Binding Sites, Cell Death, HeLa Cells, Humans, Mice, Mice, Knockout, Mitochondria, Mitochondrial Membranes, Myeloid Cell Leukemia Sequence 1 Protein, NIH 3T3 Cells, Protein Biosynthesis, Protein Isoforms, Proteolysis, Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2, Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases, Ubiquitination, Ultraviolet Rays


<p>Mcl-1, a pro-survival member of the Bcl-2 family located at the mitochondrial outer membrane, is subject to constitutive ubiquitylation by the Bcl-2 homology 3-only E3 ligase, Mule/Lasu1, resulting in rapid steady-state degradation via the proteasome. Insertion of newly synthesized Mcl-1 into the mitochondrial outer membrane is dependent on its C-terminal transmembrane segment, but once inserted, the N terminus of a portion of the Mcl-1 molecules can be subject to proteolytic processing. Remarkably, this processing requires an intact electrochemical potential across the inner membrane. Three lines of evidence directed at the endogenous protein, however, indicate that the resulting Mcl-1ΔN isoform resides in the outer membrane: (i) full-length Mcl-1 and Mcl-1ΔN resist extraction by alkali but are accessible to exogenous protease; (ii) almost the entire populations of Mcl-1 and Mcl-1ΔN are accessible to the membrane-impermeant Cys-reactive agent 4-acetamido-4'-[(iodoacetyl)amino]stilbene-2,2'-disulfonic acid; and (iii) Mcl-1 and Mcl-1ΔN exhibit equivalent chemical cross-linking to Bak in intact mitochondria, an Mcl-1 binding partner located in the outer membrane. In addition to the Mule Bcl-2 homology 3 domain, we show that interaction between Mcl-1 and Mule also requires the extreme N terminus of Mcl-1, which is lacking in Mcl-1ΔN. Thus, Mcl-1ΔN does not interact with Mule, exhibits reduced steady-state ubiquitylation, evades the hyper-rapid steady-state degradation that is observed for full-length Mcl-1 in response to treatments that limit global protein synthesis, and confers resistance to UV stress-induced cell death.</p>

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