FBXL5 (F-box and leucine-rich repeat protein 5) is the F-box protein subunit of, and therefore responsible for substrate recognition by, the SCFFBXL5 ubiquitin-ligase complex, which targets iron regulatory protein 2 (IRP2) for proteasomal degradation. IRP2 plays a central role in the maintenance of cellular iron homeostasis in mammals through posttranscriptional regulation of proteins that contribute to control of the intracellular iron concentration. The FBXL5-IRP2 axis is integral to control of iron metabolism in vivo, given that mice lacking FBXL5 die during early embryogenesis as a result of unrestrained IRP2 activity and oxidative stress attributable to excessive iron accumulation. Despite its pivotal role in the control of iron homeostasis, however, little is known of the upstream regulation of FBXL5 activity. We now show that FBXL5 undergoes constitutive ubiquitin-dependent degradation at the steady state. With the use of a proteomics approach to the discovery of proteins that regulate the stability of FBXL5, we identified the large HECT-type ubiquitin ligase HERC2 (HECT and RLD domain containing E3 ubiquitin protein ligase 2) as an FBXL5-associated protein. Inhibition of the HERC2-FBXL5 interaction or depletion of endogenous HERC2 by RNA interference resulted in the stabilization of FBXL5 and a consequent increase in its abundance. Such accumulation of FBXL5 in turn led to a decrease in the intracellular content of ferrous iron. Our results thus suggest that HERC2 regulates the basal turnover of FBXL5, and that this ubiquitin-dependent degradation pathway contributes to the control of mammalian iron metabolism.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology