CFTRDeltaF508 exhibits a correctable protein-folding defect that leads to its misfolding and premature degradation, which is the cause of cystic fibrosis (CF). Herein we report on the characterization of the CFTRDeltaF508 biogenic intermediate that is selected for proteasomal degradation and identification of cellular components that polyubiquitinate CFTRDeltaF508. Nonubiquitinated CFTRDeltaF508 accumulates in a kinetically trapped, but folding competent conformation, that is maintained in a soluble state by cytosolic Hsc70. Ubiquitination of Hsc70-bound CFTRDeltaF508 requires CHIP, a U box containing cytosolic cochaperone. CHIP is demonstrated to function as a scaffold that nucleates the formation of a multisubunit E3 ubiquitin ligase whose reconstituted activity toward CFTR is dependent upon Hdj2, Hsc70, and the E2 UbcH5a. Inactivation of the Hsc70-CHIP E3 leads CFTRDeltaF508 to accumulate in a nonaggregated state, which upon lowering of cell growth temperatures, can fold and reach the cell surface. Inhibition of CFTRDeltaF508 ubiquitination can increase its cell surface expression and may provide an approach to treat CF.
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