Ubiquitin carboxy-terminal hydrolase L1 (UCH-L1) is an intracellular protein abundantly expressed in neurons, and a mutation in UCH-L1 has been identified in familial Parkinson's disease. UCH-L1 has been detected in human cerebrospinal fluid, raising the possibility that UCH-L1 is secreted from neurons. In the present study, we showed that a portion of UCH-L1 is secreted from cultured cells. The secretion of D30K UCH-L1, which lacks ubiquitin binding activity, was decreased compared with that of wild-type UCH-L1, while the secretion of C90S UCH-L1, which lacks hydrolase activity, was not. Treatment with Brefeldin A, an inhibitor of vesicle transport from the endoplasmic reticulum to the Golgi, did not block the secretion of UCH-L1, indicating that UCH-L1 is secreted by an unconventional pathway. The UCH-L1 sequence from Leu-32 to Leu-39 is similar to the unconventional secretory signal sequence of engrailed 2, and substitution of the leucines within this region (L32S/L32A/L34S/L34A/L39S/L39A) reduced the secretion of UCH-L1. We found that the Parkinson's disease-associated mutation I93M in UCH-L1 decreased the secretion of I93M UCH-L1. In addition, Parkinson's disease-linked α-synuclein mutants reduced the secretion of endogenous UCH-L1. Our results indicate that the hydrolase activity is not necessary for the unconventional secretion of UCH-L1, and suggest that the ubiquitin binding activity and the sequence between Leu-32 and Leu-39 are involved in the secretion. Moreover, the secretion of UCH-L1 could be involved in the pathology of Parkinson's disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Cell Biology