The molecular chaperone heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) and the co-chaperone/ubiquitin ligase carboxyl terminus of Hsc70-interacting protein (CHIP) control the turnover of client proteins. How this system decides to stabilize or degrade the client proteins under particular physiological or pathological conditions is unclear. We report here a novel client protein, the SUMO2/3 protease SENP3, that is sophisticatedly regulated by CHIP and Hsp90. SENP3 is maintained at a low basal level under non-stress condition due to Hsp90-independent CHIP-mediated ubiquitination. Upon mild oxidative stress, SENP3 undergoes thiol modification, which recruits Hsp90. Hsp90/SENP3 association protects SENP3 from CHIP-mediated ubiquitination and subsequent degradation, but this effect of Hsp90 requires the presence of CHIP. Our data demonstrate for the first time that CHIP and Hsp90 interplay with a client alternately under non-stress and stress conditions, and the choice between stabilization and degradation is made by the redox state of the client. In addition, enhanced SENP3/Hsp90 association is found in cancer. These findings provide new mechanistic insight into how cells regulate the SUMO protease in response to oxidative stress.
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