CUL4-DDB1-CRBN E3 Ubiquitin Ligase Regulates Proteostasis of ClC-2 Chloride Channels: Implication for Aldosteronism and Leukodystrophy

Ssu Ju Fu, Meng Chun Hu, Yi Jheng Peng, Hsin Yu Fang, Cheng Tsung Hsiao, Tsung Yu Chen, Chung Jiuan Jeng, Chih Yung Tang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Voltage-gated ClC-2 channels are essential for chloride homeostasis. Complete knockout of mouse ClC-2 leads to testicular degeneration and neuronal myelin vacuolation. Gain-of-function and loss-of-function mutations in the ClC-2-encoding human CLCN2 gene are linked to the genetic diseases aldosteronism and leukodystrophy, respectively. The protein homeostasis (proteostasis) mechanism of ClC-2 is currently unclear. Here, we aimed to identify the molecular mechanism of endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation of ClC-2, and to explore the pathophysiological significance of disease-associated anomalous ClC-2 proteostasis. In both heterologous expression system and native neuronal and testicular cells, ClC-2 is subject to significant regulation by cullin-RING E3 ligase-mediated polyubiquitination and proteasomal degradation. The cullin 4 (CUL4)-damage-specific DNA binding protein 1 (DDB1)-cereblon (CRBN) E3 ubiquitin ligase co-exists in the same complex with and promotes the degradation of ClC-2 channels. The CRBN-targeting immunomodulatory drug lenalidomide and the cullin E3 ligase inhibitor MLN4924 promotes and attenuates, respectively, proteasomal degradation of ClC-2. Analyses of disease-related ClC-2 mutants reveal that aldosteronism and leukodystrophy are associated with opposite alterations in ClC-2 proteostasis. Modifying CUL4 E3 ligase activity with lenalidomide and MLN4924 ameliorates disease-associated ClC-2 proteostasis abnormality. Our results highlight the significant role and therapeutic potential of CUL4 E3 ubiquitin ligase in regulating ClC-2 proteostasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Issue number6
StatePublished - May 26 2020


  • channelopathy
  • cullin E3 ubiquitin ligase
  • lenalidomide
  • MG132
  • MLN4924
  • polyubiquitination
  • proteasomal degradation


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