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Loss of the E3 ubiquitin ligases UBR-5 or HECD-1 restores Caenorhabditis elegans development in the absence of SWI/SNF function.

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Lampersberger, Lisa 
Conte, Francesca 
Ghosh, Subhanita 
Price, Jonathan 


SWItch/sucrose non-fermenting (SWI/SNF) complexes are a family of chromatin remodelers that are conserved across eukaryotes. Mutations in subunits of SWI/SNF cause a multitude of different developmental disorders in humans, most of which have no current treatment options. Here, we identify an alanine-to-valine-causing mutation in the SWI/SNF subunit snfc-5 (SMARCB1 in humans) that prevents embryonic lethality in Caenorhabditis elegans nematodes harboring a loss-of-function mutation in the SWI/SNF subunit swsn-1 (SMARCC1/2 in humans). Furthermore, we found that the combination of this specific mutation in snfc-5 and a loss-of-function mutation in either of the E3 ubiquitin ligases ubr-5 (UBR5 in humans) or hecd-1 (HECTD1 in humans) can restore development to adulthood in swsn-1 loss-of-function mutants that otherwise die as embryos. Using these mutant models, we established a set of 335 genes that are dysregulated in SWI/SNF mutants that arrest their development embryonically but exhibit near wild-type levels of expression in the presence of suppressor mutations that prevent embryonic lethality, suggesting that SWI/SNF promotes development by regulating some subset of these 335 genes. In addition, we show that SWI/SNF protein levels are reduced in swsn-1; snfc-5 double mutants and partly restored to wild-type levels in swsn-1; snfc-5; ubr-5 triple mutants, consistent with a model in which UBR-5 regulates SWI/SNF levels by tagging the complex for proteasomal degradation. Our findings establish a link between two E3 ubiquitin ligases and SWI/SNF function and suggest that UBR5 and HECTD1 could be potential therapeutic targets for the many developmental disorders caused by missense mutations in SWI/SNF subunits.



C. elegans, HECD-1, SWI/SNF, UBR-5, development, Animals, Humans, Caenorhabditis elegans, Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases, Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins, Ubiquitins

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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

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Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Cancer Research UK (A27826)
Wellcome Trust (219475/Z/19/Z)