Nat Commun 2020 Sep 15; 11(1):4625
A hallmark of neurodegeneration is defective protein quality control. The E3 ligase Listerin (LTN1/Ltn1) acts in a specialized protein quality control pathway-Ribosome-associated Quality Control (RQC)-by mediating proteolytic targeting of incomplete polypeptides produced by ribosome stalling, and Ltn1 mutation leads to neurodegeneration in mice. Whether neurodegeneration results from defective RQC and whether defective RQC contributes to human disease have remained unknown. Here we show that three independently-generated mouse models with mutations in a different component of the RQC complex, NEMF/Rqc2, develop progressive motor neuron degeneration. Equivalent mutations in yeast Rqc2 selectively interfere with its ability to modify aberrant translation products with C-terminal tails which assist with RQC-mediated protein degradation, suggesting a pathomechanism. Finally, we identify NEMF mutations expected to interfere with function in patients from seven families presenting juvenile neuromuscular disease. These uncover NEMF's role in translational homeostasis in the nervous system and implicate RQC dysfunction in causing neurodegeneration.
We thank Pete Finger, David Schroeder, Christina Chiang, Erin Torti, and Anastasia Singalevich for technical assistance, ReproGenomics group (John Eppig, Mary Ann Handel, and Janice Pendola) for the R86S mouse, Patsy Nishina’s Eye Mutant Resource for the R487G mouse. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License