SUMOylation by SUMO2 is implicated in the degradation of misfolded ataxin-7 via RNF4 in SCA7 models.


Sorbonne Universités, UPMC, Univ Paris 06 UMRS 1127, INSERM U 1127, CNRS UMR 7225, ICM (Brain and Spine Institute) Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, 75013 Paris, France [Email]


Perturbation of protein homeostasis and aggregation of misfolded proteins is a major cause of many human diseases. A hallmark of the neurodegenerative disease spinocerebellar ataxia type 7 (SCA7) is the intranuclear accumulation of mutant, misfolded ataxin-7 (polyQ-ATXN7). Here, we show that endogenous ATXN7 is modified by SUMO proteins, thus also suggesting a physiological role for this modification under conditions of proteotoxic stress caused by the accumulation of polyQ-ATXN7. Co-immunoprecipitation experiments, immunofluorescence microscopy and proximity ligation assays confirmed the colocalization and interaction of polyQ-ATXN7 with SUMO2 in cells. Moreover, upon inhibition of the proteasome, both endogenous SUMO2/3 and the RNF4 ubiquitin ligase surround large polyQ-ATXN7 intranuclear inclusions. Overexpression of RNF4 and/or SUMO2 significantly decreased levels of polyQ-ATXN7 and, upon proteasomal inhibition, led to a marked increase in the polyubiquitination of polyQ-ATXN7. This provides a mechanism for the clearance of polyQ-ATXN7 from affected cells that involves the recruitment of RNF4 by SUMO2/3-modified polyQ-ATXN7, thus leading to its ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation. In a SCA7 knock-in mouse model, we similarly observed colocalization of SUMO2/3 with polyQ-ATXN7 inclusions in the cerebellum and retina. Furthermore, we detected accumulation of SUMO2/3 high-molecular-mass species in the cerebellum of SCA7 knock-in mice, compared with their wild-type littermates, and changes in SUMO-related transcripts. Immunohistochemical analysis showed the accumulation of SUMO proteins and RNF4 in the cerebellum of SCA7 patients. Taken together, our results show that the SUMO pathway contributes to the clearance of aggregated ATXN7 and suggest that its deregulation might be associated with SCA7 disease progression.


Polyglutamine disease,Proteasome,RNF4,SCA7,SUMO,