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The AAA-ATPase VCP/p97 cooperates with the SEP-domain adapters p37, UBXN2A and p47 in stripping inhibitor-3 (I3) from protein phosphatase-1 (PP1) for activation. In contrast to p97-mediated degradative processes, PP1 complex disassembly is ubiquitin-independent. It is therefore unclear how selective targeting is achieved. Using biochemical reconstitution and crosslink mass spectrometry, we show here that SEP-domain adapters use a multivalent substrate recognition strategy. An N-terminal sequence element predicted to form a helix, together with the SEP-domain, binds and engages the direct target I3 in the central pore of p97 for unfolding, while its partner PP1 is held by a linker between SHP box and UBX domain locked onto the peripheral N-domain of p97. Although the I3-binding element is functional in p47, p47 in vitro requires a transplant of the PP1-binding linker from p37 for activity stressing that both sites are essential to control specificity. Of note, unfolding is then governed by an inhibitory segment in the N-terminal region of p47, suggesting a regulatory function. Together, this study reveals how p97 adapters engage a protein complex for ubiquitin-independent disassembly while ensuring selectivity for one subunit. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Matthias Kracht, Johannes van den Boom, Jonas Seiler, Alexander Kröning, Farnusch Kaschani, Markus Kaiser, Hemmo Meyer. Protein Phosphatase-1 Complex Disassembly by p97 is Initiated through Multivalent Recognition of Catalytic and Regulatory Subunits by the p97 SEP-domain Adapters. Journal of molecular biology. 2020 Nov 20;432(23):6061-6074

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PMID: 33058883

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