Intramembrane Protease RHBDL4 Cleaves Oligosaccharyltransferase Subunits to Target Them for ER-associated Degradation

J Cell Sci. 2020 Mar 26;133(6):jcs243790. doi: 10.1242/jcs.243790.


The endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-resident intramembrane rhomboid protease RHBDL4 generates metastable protein fragments and together with the ER-associated degradation (ERAD) machinery provides a clearance mechanism for aberrant and surplus proteins. However, the endogenous substrate spectrum and with that the role of RHBDL4 in physiological ERAD is mainly unknown. Here, we use a substrate trapping approach in combination with quantitative proteomics to identify physiological RHBDL4 substrates. This revealed oligosaccharyltransferase (OST) complex subunits such as the catalytic active subunit STT3A as substrates for the RHBDL4-dependent ERAD pathway. RHBDL4-catalysed cleavage inactivates OST subunits by triggering dislocation into the cytoplasm and subsequent proteasomal degradation. RHBDL4 thereby controls the abundance and activity of OST, suggesting a novel link between the ERAD machinery and glycosylation tuning.

Keywords: N-linked glycosylation; Post-translational protein abundance control; Rhbdd1; Rhomboid serine protease; Ubiquitin-dependent proteolysis.