Ubiquitin-specific protease 8 (USP8) is a deubiquitinating enzyme involved in multiple membrane trafficking pathways. The enzyme activity is inhibited by binding to 14-3-3 proteins. Mutations in the 14-3-3-binding motif in USP8 are related to Cushing's disease. However, the molecular basis of USP8 activity regulation remains unclear. This study identified amino acids 645-684 of USP8 as an autoinhibitory region, which might interact with the catalytic USP domain, as per the results of pull-down and single-molecule FRET assays performed in this study. In silico modelling indicated that the region forms a WW-like domain structure, plugs the catalytic cleft, and narrows the entrance to the ubiquitin-binding pocket. Furthermore, 14-3-3 inhibited USP8 activity partly by enhancing the interaction between the WW-like and USP domains. These findings provide the molecular basis of USP8 autoinhibition via the WW-like domain. Moreover, they suggest that the release of autoinhibition may underlie Cushing's disease due to USP8 mutations.
© 2021. The Author(s).