Ectodomain shedding is a post-translational modification mechanism by which the entire extracellular domain of membrane proteins is liberated through juxtamembrane processing. Because shedding rapidly and irreversibly alters the characteristics of cells, this process is properly regulated. However, the molecular mechanisms governing the propensity of membrane proteins to shedding are largely unknown. Here, we present evidence that negatively charged amino acids within the stalk region, an unstructured juxtamembrane region at which shedding occurs, contribute to shedding susceptibility. We show that two activated leukocyte cell adhesion molecule (ALCAM) protein variants produced by alternative splicing have different susceptibilities to ADAM metallopeptidase domain 17 (ADAM17)-mediated shedding. Of note, the inclusion of a stalk region encoded by a 39-bp-long alternative exon conferred shedding resistance. We found that this alternative exon encodes a large proportion of negatively charged amino acids, which we demonstrate are indispensable for conferring the shedding resistance. We also show that the introduction of negatively charged amino acids into the stalk region of shedding-susceptible ALCAMvariant protein attenuates its shedding. Furthermore, we observed that negatively charged amino acids residing in the stalk region of Erb-B2 receptor tyrosine kinase 4 (ERBB4) are indispensable for its shedding resistance. Collectively, our results indicate that negatively charged amino acids within the stalk region interfere with the shedding of multiple membrane proteins. We conclude that the composition of the stalk region determines the shedding susceptibility of membrane proteins.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology