Non-canonical ubiquitination of the cholesterol-regulated degron of squalene monooxygenase

Ngee Kiat Chua, Gene Hart-Smith, Andrew J. Brown*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Squalene monooxygenase (SM) is a rate-limitingenzymein cholesterol synthesis. The region comprising the first 100 amino acids, termed SM N100, represents the shortest cholesterol-responsive degron and enables SM to sense excess cholesterol in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane. Cholesterol accelerates the ubiquitination of SM by membrane-associated ring-CH type finger 6 (MARCH6), a key E3 ubiquitin ligase involved in ER-associated degradation. However, the ubiquitination site required for cholesterol regulation of SM N100 is unknown. Here, we used SM N100 fused to GFP as a model degron to recapitulate cholesterol-mediated SM degradation and show that neither SM lysine residues nor the N terminus impart instability. Instead, we discovered four serines (Ser-59, Ser-61, Ser-83, and Ser-87) that are critical for cholesterol- accelerated degradation, with MS analysis confirming Ser-83 as a ubiquitination site. Notably, these two clusters of closely spaced serine residues are located in disordered domains flanking a 12-amino acid-long amphipathic helix (residues Gln-62-Leu-73) that together confer cholesterol responsiveness. In summary, our findings reveal the degron architecture of SM N100, introducing the role of non-canonical ubiquitination sites and deepening our molecular understanding of how SM is degraded in response to cholesterol.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8134-8147
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 17 May 2019
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Non-canonical ubiquitination of the cholesterol-regulated degron of squalene monooxygenase'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this