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Cdc48, known as p97 or valosin-containing protein (VCP) in mammals, is an abundant AAA-ATPase that is essential for many ubiquitin-dependent processes. One well-documented role for Cdc48 is in facilitating the delivery of ubiquitylated misfolded endoplasmic reticulum proteins to the proteasome for degradation. By contrast, the role for Cdc48 in misfolded protein degradation in the nucleus is unknown. In the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, degradation of misfolded proteins in the nucleus is primarily mediated by the nuclear-localized ubiquitin-protein ligase San1, which ubiquitylates misfolded nuclear proteins for proteasomal degradation. Here, we find that, although Cdc48 is involved in the degradation of some San1 substrates, it is not universally required. The difference in the requirement for Cdc48 correlates with the insolubility of the San1 substrate. The more insoluble the substrate, the more its degradation requires Cdc48. Expression of Cdc48-dependent San1 substrates in mutant cdc48 cells results in increased substrate insolubility, larger inclusion formation and reduced cell viability. Substrate ubiquitylation is increased in mutant cdc48 cells, suggesting that Cdc48 functions downstream of San1. Taken together, we propose that Cdc48 acts, in part, to maintain the solubility or reverse the aggregation of insoluble misfolded proteins prior to their proteasomal degradation.


Pamela S Gallagher, Sarah V Clowes Candadai, Richard G Gardner. The requirement for Cdc48/p97 in nuclear protein quality control degradation depends on the substrate and correlates with substrate insolubility. Journal of cell science. 2014 May 01;127(Pt 9):1980-91

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PMID: 24569878

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