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Available from: Dan Ehninger, Jul 02, 2015
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    ABSTRACT: A nonsense mutation in cereblon (CRBN) causes autosomal recessive nonsyndromic mental retardation. Cereblon is a substrate receptor for the Cullin-RING E3 ligase complex, and couples the ubiquitin ligase to specific ubiquitination targets. The CRBN nonsense mutation (R419X) results in a protein lacking 24 amino acids at its C-terminus. Although this mutation has been linked to mild mental retardation, the mechanism by which the mutation affects CRBN function is unknown. Here, we used biochemical and mass spectrometric approaches to explore the function of this mutant. We show that the protein retains its ability to assemble into a Cullin-RING E3 ligase complex and catalyzes the ubiquitination of CRBN-target proteins. However, we find that this mutant exhibits markedly increased levels of autoubiquitination and is more readily degraded by the proteasome than the wild type protein. We also show that the level of the mutant protein can be restored by a treatment of cells with a clinically utilized proteasome inhibitor, suggesting that this agent may be useful for the treatment of mental retardation associated with the CRBN R419X mutation. These data demonstrate that enhanced autoubiquitination and degradation accounts for the defect in CRBN activity that leads to mental retardation.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 08/2013; DOI:10.1074/jbc.M113.472092 · 4.60 Impact Factor