Proteostasis maintenance of γ-aminobutyric acid type A (GABAA) receptors dictates their function in controlling neuronal inhibition in mammalian central nervous systems. However, as a multisubunit, multispan, integral membrane protein, even wild type subunits of GABAA receptors fold and assemble inefficiently in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Unassembled and misfolded subunits undergo ER-associated degradation (ERAD), but this degradation process remains poorly understood for GABAA receptors. Here, using the α1 subunits of GABAA receptors as a model substrate, we demonstrated that Grp94, a metazoan-specific Hsp90 in the ER lumen, uses its middle domain to interact with the α1 subunits and positively regulates their ERAD. OS-9, an ER-resident lectin, acts downstream of Grp94 to further recognize misfolded α1 subunits in a glycan-dependent manner. This delivers misfolded α1 subunits to the Hrd1-mediated ubiquitination and the valosin-containing protein-mediated extraction pathway. Repressing the initial ERAD recognition step by inhibiting Grp94 enhances the functional surface expression of misfolding-prone α1(A322D) subunits, which causes autosomal dominant juvenile myoclonic epilepsy. This study clarifies a Grp94-mediated ERAD pathway for GABAA receptors, which provides a novel way to finely tune their function in physiological and pathophysiological conditions.
Keywords: Cys-loop receptor; Grp94; Hrd1; OS-9; VCP; endoplasmic reticulum-associated protein degradation (ERAD); epilepsy; protein misfolding; proteostasis; γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA).
© 2016 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.