WSB1/2 target chromatin-bound lysine-methylated RelA for proteasomal degradation and NF-κB termination

Jie Zhang, Yuanyuan Yu, Xiuqun Zou, Yaning Du, Qiankun Liang, Mengyao Gong, Yurong He, Junqi Luo, Dandan Wu, Xiaoli Jiang, Matt Sinclair, Emad Tajkhorshid, Hong Zhuan Chen, Zhaoyuan Hou, Yuejuan Zheng, Lin Feng Chen, Xiao Dong Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Proteasome-mediated degradation of chromatin-bound NF-κB is critical in terminating the transcription of pro-inflammatory genes and can be triggered by Set9-mediated lysine methylation of the RelA subunit. However, the E3 ligase targeting methylated RelA remains unknown. Here, we find that two structurally similar substrate-recognizing components of Cullin-RING E3 ligases, WSB1 and WSB2, can recognize chromatin-bound methylated RelA for polyubiquitination and proteasomal degradation. We showed that WSB1/2 negatively regulated a subset of NF-κB target genes via associating with chromatin where they targeted methylated RelA for ubiquitination, facilitating the termination of NF-κB-dependent transcription. WSB1/2 specifically interacted with methylated lysines (K) 314 and 315 of RelA via their N-terminal WD-40 repeat (WDR) domains, thereby promoting ubiquitination of RelA. Computational modeling further revealed that a conserved aspartic acid (D) at position 158 within the WDR domain of WSB2 coordinates K314/K315 of RelA, with a higher affinity when either of the lysines is methylated. Mutation of D158 abolished WSB2’s ability to bind to and promote ubiquitination of methylated RelA. Together, our study identifies a novel function and the underlying mechanism for WSB1/2 in degrading chromatin-bound methylated RelA and preventing sustained NF-κB activation, providing potential new targets for therapeutic intervention of NF-κB-mediated inflammatory diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4969-4984
Number of pages16
JournalNucleic acids research
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 22 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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