The efficient clearance of cytotoxic misfolded protein aggregates is critical for cell survival. Misfolded protein aggregates are transported and removed from the cytoplasm by dynein motors via the microtubule network to a novel organelle termed the aggresome where they are processed. However, the means by which dynein motors recognize misfolded protein cargo, and the cellular factors that regulate aggresome formation, remain unknown. We have discovered that HDAC6, a microtubule-associated deacetylase, is a component of the aggresome. We demonstrate that HDAC6 has the capacity to bind both polyubiquitinated misfolded proteins and dynein motors, thereby acting to recruit misfolded protein cargo to dynein motors for transport to aggresomes. Indeed, cells deficient in HDAC6 fail to clear misfolded protein aggregates from the cytoplasm, cannot form aggresomes properly, and are hypersensitive to the accumulation of misfolded proteins. These findings identify HDAC6 as a crucial player in the cellular management of misfolded protein-induced stress.
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