C2-lacking isoform of Nedd4-2 regulates excitatory synaptic strength through GluA1 ubiquitination-independent mechanisms

Jiuhe Zhu, Kwan Young Lee, Tiffany T. Jong, Nien Pei Tsai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Neural precursor cell expressed developmentally downregulated gene 4-like (Nedd4-2) is an epilepsy-associated gene, which encodes a ubiquitin E3 ligase that is highly expressed in the brain. Nedd4-2’s substrates include many ion channels and receptors because its N-terminal C2 domain guides Nedd4-2 to the cell membrane. We previously found that Nedd4-2 ubiquitinates the glutamate receptor subunit 1 (GluA1) subunit of the α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid receptor, which leads to reduction of neuronal excitability and seizures in mice. However, despite awareness of a Nedd4-2 isoform with no C2 domain, the functions of this isoform remain elusive. In this study, we showed that the C2-lacking Nedd4-2 has reduced membrane distribution and exhibits reduced affinity toward ubiquitinating GluA1. However, when expressed in primary cortical neurons, we found that the C2-lacking Nedd4-2 exhibits a similar activity toward reducing excitatory synaptic strength as does the C2-containing Nedd4-2. In an attempt to identify novel Nedd4-2 substrates that could mediate excitatory synaptic strength, we used unbiased proteomic screening and found multiple synaptic regulators that were up-regulated in the brain of conditional Nedd4-2 knockout mice, including protein phosphatase 3 catalytic subunit-α (PPP3CA; alternately called calcineurin A-α). We confirmed PPP3CA as a substrate of the C2-lacking Nedd4-2 and showed that all three epilepsy-associated missense mutations of Nedd4-2 disrupted PPP3CA ubiquitination. Altogether, our results revealed novel potential Nedd4-2 substrates and suggest that the C2-lacking Nedd4-2 represses excitatory synaptic strength most likely through GluA1 ubiquitination-independent mechanisms. These findings provide novel information to further our knowledge about Nedd4-2-dependent neuronal excitability homeostasis and pathological hyperexcitability when Nedd4-2 is compromised. (Figure presented.).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)289-300
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019


  • GluA1
  • Nedd4-2
  • calcineurin
  • epilepsy
  • ubiquitination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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