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Open Access Research article

A human polymorphism affects NEDD4L subcellular targeting by leading to two isoforms that contain or lack a C2 domain

Nicholas F Garrone1, Bonnie L Blazer-Yost2, Robert B Weiss1, Jean-Marc Lalouel1 and Andreas Rohrwasser1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Human Genetics, Eccles Institute of Human Genetics, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, USA

2 Department of Biology, Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis, Indianapolis, USA

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BMC Cell Biology 2009, 10:26  doi:10.1186/1471-2121-10-26

Published: 13 April 2009

Abstract

Background

Ubiquitination serves multiple cellular functions, including proteasomal degradation and the control of stability, function, and intracellular localization of a wide variety of proteins. NEDD4L is a member of the HECT class of E3 ubiquitin ligases. A defining feature of NEDD4L protein isoforms is the presence or absence of an amino-terminal C2 domain, a class of subcellular, calcium-dependent targeting domains. We previously identified a common variant in human NEDD4L that generates isoforms that contain or lack a C2 domain.

Results

To address the potential functional significance of the NEDD4L common variant on NEDD4L subcellular localization, NEDD4L isoforms that either contained or lacked a C2 domain were tagged with enhanced green fluorescent protein, transfected into Xenopus laevis kidney epithelial cells, and imaged by performing confocal microscopy on live cells. We report that the presence or absence of this C2 domain exerts differential effects on the subcellular distribution of NEDD4L, the ability of C2 containing and lacking NEDD4L isoforms to mobilize in response to a calcium stimulus, and the intracellular transport of subunits of the NEDD4L substrate, ENaC. Furthermore, the ability of the C2-containing isoform to influence β-ENaC mobilization from intracellular pools involves the NEDD4L active site for ubiquitination. We propose a model to account for the potential impact of this common genetic variant on protein function at the cellular level.

Conclusion

NEDD4L isoforms that contain or lack a C2 domain target different intracellular locations. Additionally, whereas the C2-containing NEDD4L isoform is capable of shuttling between the plasma membrane and intracellular compartments in response to calcium stimulus the C2-lacking isoform can not. The C2-containing isoform differentially affects the mobilization of ENaC subunits from intracellular pools and this trafficking step requires NEDD4L ubiquitin ligase activity. This observation suggests a new mechanism for the requirement for the PY motif in cAMP-mediated exocytosis of ENaC. We have elucidated how a common genetic variant can underlie significant functional diversity in NEDD4L at the cellular level. We propose a model that describes how that functional variation may influence blood pressure. Moreover, our observations regarding differential function of the NEDD4L isoforms may impact other aspects of physiology that involve this ubiquitin ligase.