Oxidative phosphorylation generates most of the ATP in respiring cells. ATP is an essential energy source, especially in cardiomyocytes because of their continuous contraction and relaxation. Previously, we reported that G0/G1 switch gene 2 (G0S2) positively regulates mitochondrial ATP production by interacting with FOF1-ATP synthase. G0S2 overexpression mitigates ATP decline in cardiomyocytes and strongly increases their hypoxic tolerance during ischemia. Here, we show that G0S2 protein undergoes proteasomal degradation via a cytosolic molecular triage system and that inhibiting this process increases mitochondrial ATP production in hypoxia. First, we performed screening with a library of siRNAs targeting ubiquitin-related genes and identified RING finger protein 126 (RNF126) as an E3 ligase involved in G0S2 degradation. RNF126-deficient cells exhibited prolonged G0S2 protein turnover and reduced G0S2 ubiquitination. BCL2-associated athanogene 6 (BAG6), involved in the molecular triage of nascent membrane proteins, enhanced RNF126-mediated G0S2 ubiquitination both in vitro and in vivo Next, we found that Glu-44 in the hydrophobic region of G0S2 acts as a degron necessary for G0S2 polyubiquitination and proteasomal degradation. Because this degron was required for an interaction of G0S2 with BAG6, an alanine-replaced G0S2 mutant (E44A) escaped degradation. In primary cultured cardiomyocytes, both overexpression of the G0S2 E44A mutant and RNF126 knockdown effectively attenuated ATP decline under hypoxic conditions. We conclude that the RNF126/BAG6 complex contributes to G0S2 degradation and that interventions to prevent G0S2 degradation may offer a therapeutic strategy for managing ischemic diseases.
Keywords: ATP; BCL2-associated athanogene 6; RING finger protein 126 (RNF126); hypoxia; ischemic heart disease; mitochondria; protein degradation; small interfering RNA (siRNA); ubiquitin ligase.
© 2019 Kamikubo et al.