Reversible ubiquitylation of proteins contributes to their integrity, abundance and activity. The RE1-silencing transcription factor (REST) plays key physiological roles and is dysregulated in a spectrum of disease. It is rapidly turned over and is phosphorylated, polyubiquitylated and degraded en masse during neuronal differentiation and cell cycle progression. Through siRNA screening we identified the deubiquitylase USP15 as a key regulator of cellular REST. Both antagonism of REST polyubiquitylation and rescue of endogenous REST levels are dependent on the deubiquitylase activity of USP15. However, USP15 depletion does not destabilize pre-existing REST, but rather specifically impairs de novo REST synthesis. Indeed, we find that a small fraction of endogenous USP15 is associated with polysomes. In accordance with these findings, USP15 does not antagonize the degradation of phosphorylated REST at mitosis. Instead it is required for the rapid accumulation of newly synthesized REST on mitotic exit, thus playing a key role in its cell cycle oscillations. Importantly, this study reveals a novel role for a DUB in specifically promoting new protein synthesis.
Keywords: G1; NRSF; cell cycle; co-translational; deubiquitination; post-translational modification; protein degradation; ubiquitin specific peptidase 15.