The Journal of biological chemistry

Insulin-induced gene protein (INSIG)-dependent sterol regulation of Hmg2 endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation (ERAD) in yeast.

PMID 23306196


Insulin-induced gene proteins (INSIGs) function in control of cellular cholesterol. Mammalian INSIGs exert control by directly interacting with proteins containing sterol-sensing domains (SSDs) when sterol levels are elevated. Mammalian 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl (HMG)-CoA reductase (HMGR) undergoes sterol-dependent, endoplasmic-reticulum (ER)-associated degradation (ERAD) that is mediated by INSIG interaction with the HMGR SSD. The yeast HMGR isozyme Hmg2 also undergoes feedback-regulated ERAD in response to the early pathway-derived isoprene gernanylgeranyl pyrophosphate (GGPP). Hmg2 has an SSD, and its degradation is controlled by the INSIG homologue Nsg1. However, yeast Nsg1 promotes Hmg2 stabilization by inhibiting GGPP-stimulated ERAD. We have proposed that the seemingly disparate INSIG functions can be unified by viewing INSIGs as sterol-dependent chaperones of SSD clients. Accordingly, we tested the role of sterols in the Nsg1 regulation of Hmg2. We found that both Nsg1-mediated stabilization of Hmg2 and the Nsg1-Hmg2 interaction required the early sterol lanosterol. Lowering lanosterol in the cell allowed GGPP-stimulated Hmg2 ERAD. Thus, Hmg2-regulated degradation is controlled by a two-signal logic; GGPP promotes degradation, and lanosterol inhibits degradation. These data reveal that the sterol dependence of INSIG-client interaction has been preserved for over 1 billion years. We propose that the INSIGs are a class of sterol-dependent chaperones that bind to SSD clients, thus harnessing ER quality control in the homeostasis of sterols.

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