Mutations in the human peptide:N-glycanase gene (NGLY1), which encodes a cytosolic de-N-glycosylating enzyme, cause a congenital autosomal recessive disorder. In rodents, the loss of Ngly1 results in severe developmental delay or lethality, but the underlying mechanism remains unknown. In this study, we found that deletion of Fbxo6 (also known as Fbs2), which encodes a ubiquitin ligase subunit that recognizes glycoproteins, rescued the lethality-related defects in Ngly1-KO mice. In NGLY1-KO cells, FBS2 overexpression resulted in the substantial inhibition of proteasome activity, causing cytotoxicity. Nuclear factor, erythroid 2-like 1 (NFE2L1, also known as NRF1), an endoplasmic reticulum-associated transcriptional factor involved in expression of proteasome subunits, was also abnormally ubiquitinated by SCFFBS2 in NGLY1-KO cells, resulting in its retention in the cytosol. However, the cytotoxicity caused by FBS2 was restored by the overexpression of "glycan-less" NRF1 mutants, regardless of their transcriptional activity, or by the deletion of NRF1 in NGLY1-KO cells. We conclude that the proteasome dysfunction caused by the accumulation of N-glycoproteins, primarily NRF1, ubiquitinated by SCFFBS2 accounts for the pathogenesis resulting from NGLY1 deficiency.
Keywords: ERAD; FBXO6/FBS2; NGLY1; proteasome; ubiquitination.