Cellular signalling

DLG1 is an anchor for the E3 ligase MARCH2 at sites of cell-cell contact.

PMID 17980554


PDZ domain containing molecular scaffolds plays a central role in organizing synaptic junctions. Observations in Drosophila and mammalian cells have implicated that ubiquitination and endosomal trafficking, of molecular scaffolds are critical to the development and maintenance of cell-cell junctions and cell polarity. To elucidate if there is a connection between these pathways, we applied an integrative genomic strategy, which combined comparative genomics and proteomics with cell biological assays. Given the importance of ubiquitin in regulating endocytic processes, we first identified the subset of E3 ligases with conserved PDZ binding motifs. Among this subset, the MARCH family ubiquitin ligases account for the largest family and MARCH2 has been previously implicated in endosomal trafficking. Next, we tested in an unbiased fashion, if MARCH2 binds PDZ proteins in vivo using a modified tandem affinity purification strategy followed by mass spectrometry. Of note, DLG1 was co-purified from MARCH2, with subsequent confirmation that MARCH2 interacts with full-length DLG1 in a PDZ domain dependent manner. Furthermore, we demonstrated that MARCH2 co-localized with DLG1 at sites of cell-cell contact. In addition, loss of the MARCH2 PDZ binding motif led to loss of MARCH2 localization at cell-cell contact sites and MARCH2 appeared to localize away from cell-cell junctions. In in vivo ubiquitination assays we show that MARCH2 promotes DLG1 ubiquitination. Overall, these results suggest that PDZ ligands with E3 ligase activity may link PDZ domain containing tumor suppressors to endocytic pathways and cell polarity determination.