Kelch Domain of Gigaxonin Interacts with Intermediate Filament Proteins Affected in Giant Axonal Neuropathy

Johnson-Kerner, Bethany L.; Garcia Diaz, Alejandro; Ekins, Sean; Wichterle, Hynek

Patients with giant axonal neuropathy (GAN) show progressive loss of motor and sensory function starting in childhood and typically live for less than 30 years. GAN is caused by autosomal recessive mutations leading to low levels of gigaxonin (GIG), a ubiquitously-expressed BTB/Kelch cytoplasmic protein believed to be an E3 ligase substrate adaptor. GAN pathology is characterized by aggregates of intermediate filaments (IFs) in multiple tissues. To delineate the molecular pathway between GIG deficiency and IF pathology, we undertook a proteomic screen to identify the normal binding partners of GIG. Prominent among them were several classes of IFs, including the neurofilament subunits whose accumulation leads to the axonal swellings for which GAN is named. We showed these interactions were dependent on the Kelch domain of GIG. Furthermore, we identified the E3 ligase MYCBP2 and the heat shock proteins HSP90AA1/AB1 as interactors with the BTB domain that may result in the ubiquitination and subsequent degradation of intermediate filaments. Our open-ended proteomic screen provides support to GIG’s role as an adaptor protein, linking IF proteins through its Kelch domain to the ubiquitin pathway proteins via its BTB domain, and points to future approaches for reversing the phenotype in human patients.


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Academic Units
Pathology and Cell Biology
College of Physicians and Surgeons
Published Here
December 14, 2015