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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Regulation of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase degradation by the nonsterol mevalonate metabolite farnesol in vivo.

We have previously reported that degradation of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase, the rate-limiting enzyme in the isoprenoid pathway leading to cholesterol production, can be accelerated in cultured cells by the addition of farnesyl compounds, which are thought to mimic a natural, nonsterol mevalonate metabolite(s). In this paper we report accelerated reductase degradation by the addition of farnesol, a natural product of mevalonate metabolism, to intact cells. We demonstrate that this regulation is physiologically meaningful, shown by its blockage by several inhibitory conditions that are known to block the degradation induced by mevalonate addition. We further show that intracellular farnesol levels increase significantly after mevalonate addition. Based on these results, we conclude that farnesol is a nonsterol, mevalonate-derived product that plays a role in accelerated reductase degradation. Our conclusion is in agreement with a previous report (Correll, C. C., Ng, L., and Edwards, P. A. (1994) J. Biol. Chem. 269, 17390-17393), in which an in vitro system was used to study the effect of farnesol on reductase degradation. However, the apparent stimulation of degradation in vitro appears to be due to nonphysiological processes. Our findings demonstrate that in vitro, farnesol causes reductase to become detergent insoluble and thus lost from immunoprecipitation experiments, yielding apparent degradation. We further show that another resident endoplasmic reticulum protein, calnexin, similarly gives the appearance of protein degradation after farnesol addition in vitro. However, after the addition of farnesol to cells in vivo, calnexin remains stable, whereas reductase is degraded, providing further evidence that the in vivo effects of farnesol are physiologically meaningful and specific for reductase, whereas the in vitro effects are not.[1]


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