Caspase-mediated cleavage of the ubiquitin-protein ligase Nedd4 during apoptosis

Kieran F. Harvey, Natasha L. Harvey, Julie M. Michael, Gayathri Parasivam, Nigel Waterhouse, Emad S. Alnemri, Dianne Watters, Sharad Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


The onset of apoptosis is coupled to the proteolytic activation of a family of cysteine proteases, termed caspases. These proteases cleave their target proteins after an aspartate residue. Following caspase activation during apoptosis, a number of specific proteins have been shown to be cleaved. Here we show that Nedd4, a ubiquitin-protein ligase containing multiple WW domains and a calcium/lipid-binding domain, is also cleaved during apoptosis induced by a variety of stimuli including Fas-ligation, γ- radiation, tumor necrosis factor-a, C-8 ceramide, and etoposide treatment. Extracts from apoptotic cells also generated cleavage patterns similar to that seen in vivo, and this cleavage was inhibited by an inhibitor of caspase-3-like proteases. In vitro, Nedd4 was cleaved by a number of caspases, including caspase-1, -3, -6, and -7. By site-directed mutagenesis, one of the in vitro caspase cleavage sites in mouse Nedd4 was mapped to a DQPD237↓ sequence, which is conserved between mouse, rat, and human proteins. This is the first report demonstrating that an enzyme of the ubiquitin pathway is cleaved by caspases during apoptosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13524-13530
Number of pages7
JournalThe Journal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 29 May 1998

Cite this