We recently demonstrated that plasma membrane KCa3.1 is rapidly endocytosed and targeted for lysosomal degradation via a Rab7- and ESCRT-dependent pathway. Herein, we assess the role of ubiquitylation in this process. Using a biotin ligase acceptor peptide (BLAP)-tagged KCa3.1, in combination with tandem ubiquitin binding entities (TUBEs), we demonstrate that KCa3.1 is polyubiquitylated following endocytosis. Hypertonic sucrose inhibited KCa3.1 endocytosis and resulted in a significant decrease in channel ubiquitylation. Inhibition of the ubiquitin-activating enzyme (E1) with UBEI-41 resulted in reduced KCa3.1 ubiquitylation and internalization. The general deubiquitylase (DUB) inhibitor, PR-619 attenuated KCa3.1 degradation, indicative of deubiquitylation being required for lysosomal delivery. Using the DUB Chip, a protein microarray containing 35 DUBs, we demonstrate a time-dependent association between KCa3.1 and USP8 following endocytosis, which was confirmed by coimmunoprecipitation. Further, overexpression of wild-type USP8 accelerates channel deubiquitylation, while either a catalytically inactive mutant USP8 or siRNA-mediated knockdown of USP8 enhanced accumulation of ubiquitylated KCa3.1, thereby inhibiting channel degradation. In summary, by combining BLAP-tagged KCa3.1 with TUBEs and DUB Chip methodologies, we demonstrate that polyubiquitylation mediates the targeting of membrane KCa3.1 to the lysosomes and also that USP8 regulates the rate of KCa3.1 degradation by deubiquitylating KCa3.1 prior to lysosomal delivery.
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