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Monoubiquitination and Activity of the Paracaspase MALT1 Requires Glutamate 549 in the Dimerization Interface.
The mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue protein-1 (MALT1, also known as paracaspase) is a protease whose activity is essential for the activation of lymphocytes and the growth of cells derived from human diffuse large B-cell lymphomas of the activated B-cell subtype (ABC DLBCL). Crystallographic approaches have shown that MALT1 can form dimers via its protease domain, but why dimerization is relevant for the biological activity of MALT1 remains largely unknown. Using a molecular modeling approach, we predicted Glu 549 (E549) to be localized within the MALT1 dimer interface and thus potentially relevant. Experimental mutation of this residue into alanine (E549A) led to a complete impairment of MALT1 proteolytic activity. This correlated with an impaired capacity of the mutant to form dimers of the protease domain in vitro, and a reduced capacity to promote NF-κB activation and transcription of the growth-promoting cytokine interleukin-2 in antigen receptor-stimulated lymphocytes. Moreover, this mutant could not rescue the growth of ABC DLBCL cell lines upon MALT1 silencing. Interestingly, the MALT1 mutant E549A was unable to undergo monoubiquitination, which we identified previously as a critical step in MALT1 activation. Collectively, these findings suggest a model in which E549 at the dimerization interface is required for the formation of the enzymatically active, monoubiquitinated form of MALT1.
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