Comprehensive approach to study branched ubiquitin chains reveals roles for K48-K63 branches in VCP/p97-related processes

Sven Lange, Matthew McFarland, Fred Lamoliatte, Dominika Kwasna, Linnan Shen, Iona Wallace, Isobel Cole, Lee Armstrong, Axel Knebel, Clare Johnson, Virginia De Cesare, Yogesh Kulathu

Research output: Working paper/PreprintPreprint

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Abstract

Branched ubiquitin (Ub) chains make up a significant proportion of Ub polymers in human cells and are formed when two or more sites on a single Ub molecule are modified with Ub creating bifurcated architectures. Despite their abundance, we have a poor understanding of the cellular functions of branched Ub signals that stems from a lack of facile tools and methods to study them. Here we develop a comprehensive pipeline to define branched Ub function, using K48-K63-branched chains as a case study. We discover branch-specific binders and, by developing a method that monitors cleavage of linkages within complex polyUb, we discover the VCP/p97-associated ATXN3, and MINDY family deubiquitinases to act as debranching enzymes. By engineering and utilizing a branched K48-K63-Ub chain-specific nanobody, we reveal roles for these chains in VCP/p97-related processes. In summary, we provide a blueprint to investigate branched Ub function that can be readily applied to study other branched chain types.

Original languageEnglish
PublisherBioRxiv
Number of pages31
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2023

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