Hrd1 is the core structural component of a large endoplasmic reticulum membrane-embedded protein complex that coordinates the destruction of folding-defective proteins in the early secretory pathway. Defining the composition, dynamics, and ultimately, the structure of the Hrd1 complex is a crucial step in understanding the molecular basis of glycoprotein quality control but has been hampered by the lack of suitable techniques to interrogate this complex under native conditions. In this study we used genome editing to generate clonal HEK293 (Hrd1.KI) cells harboring a homozygous insertion of a small tandem affinity tag knocked into the endogenous Hrd1 locus. We found that steady-state levels of tagged Hrd1 in these cells are indistinguishable from those of Hrd1 in unmodified cells and that the tagged variant is functional in supporting the degradation of well characterized luminal and membrane substrates. Analysis of detergent-solubilized Hrd1.KI cells indicates that the composition and stoichiometry of Hrd1 complexes are strongly influenced by Hrd1 expression levels. Analysis of affinity-captured Hrd1 complexes from these cells by size-exclusion chromatography, immunodepletion, and absolute quantification mass spectrometry identified two major high-molecular-mass complexes with distinct sets of interacting proteins and variable stoichiometries, suggesting a hitherto unrecognized heterogeneity in the functional units of Hrd1-mediated protein degradation.
Keywords: E3 ubiquitin ligase; Hrd1; endoplasmic reticulum (ER); endoplasmic-reticulum-associated protein degradation (ERAD); ubiquitin; ubiquitin ligase.
© 2017 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.