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Rapid Ca2+-dependent decrease of protein ubiquitination at synapses

  • Hong Chen
  • Simona Polo
  • Pier Paolo Di Fiore
  • Pietro V. De Camilli
National Academy of Sciences
Publication Date
Dec 01, 2003
  • Biology
  • Medicine


Protein ubiquitination has been implicated in the regulation of axonal growth and synaptic plasticity as well as in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases. Here we show that depolarization-dependent Ca2+ influx into synaptosomes produces a global, rapid (range of seconds), and reversible decrease of the ubiquitinated state of proteins, which correlates with the Ca2+-dependent dephosphorylation of several synaptic proteins. A similar general decrease in protein ubiquitination was observed in nonneuronal cells on Ca2+ entry induced by ionomycin. Both in synaptosomes and in nonneuronal cells, this decrease was blocked by FK506 (a calcineurin antagonist). Proteins whose ubiquitinated state was decreased include epsin 1, a substrate for the deubiquitinating enzyme fat facets/FAM, which we show here to be concentrated at synapses. These results reveal a fast regulated turnover of protein ubiquitination. In nerve terminals, protein ubiquitination may play a role both in the regulation of synaptic function, including vesicle traffic, and in the coordination of protein turnover with synaptic use.

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