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Title: Stabilising suppressor of cytokine signalling 3 (SOCS3) protein levels to limit neointimal hyperplasia
Author: Munro, Kirsten Margaret Anderson
ISNI:       0000 0004 5994 572X
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2016
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Suppressor of cytokine signalling 3 (SOCS3) is a potent inhibitor of the mitogenic, migratory and pro-inflammatory pathways responsible for the development of neointimal hyperplasia (NIH), a key contributor to the failure of vascular reconstructive procedures. However, the protein levels of SOCS3, and therefore its potential to reduce NIH, is limited by its ubiquitylation and high turnover by the proteasome. I hypothesised that stabilisation of endogenous SOCS3 by inhibiting its ubiquitylation has the potential to limit vascular inflammation and NIH. Consequently, the aim of this PhD was to identify the mechanisms promoting the rapid turnover of SOCS3. Initial experiments involved the identification of residues involved in regulating the turnover of SOCS3 at the proteasome. I assessed the ubiquitylation status of a panel of FLAG tagged SOCS3 truncation mutants and identified a C-terminal 44 amino acid region required for SOCS3 ubiquitylation. This region localised to the SOCS box which is involved in binding Elongin B/C and the formation of a functional E3 ubiquitin ligase complex. However, the single lysine residue at position 173, located within this 44 amino acid region, was not required for ubiquitylation. Moreover, Emetine chase assays revealed that loss of either Lys173 or Lys6 (as documented in the literature) had no significant effect on SOCS3 stability 8 hrs post emetine treatment. As mutagenesis studies failed to identify key sites of ubiquitylation responsible for targeting SOCS3 to the proteasome, LC-MS-MS analysis of a SOCS3 co-immunoprecipitate was employed. These data were searched for the presence of a Gly-Gly doublet (+114 Da mass shift) and revealed 8 distinct sites of ubiquitylation (Lys23, Lys28, Lys40, Lys85, Lys91, Lys173, Lys195, Lys206) on SOCS3 however Lys6 ubiquitylation was not detected. As multiple Lys residues were ubiquitylated, I hypothesised that only a Lys-less SOCS3, in which all 8 Lys residues were mutated to Arg, would be resistant to ubiquitylation. Compared to WT SOCS3, Lys-less SOCS3 was indeed found to be completely resistant to ubiquitylation, and significantly more stable than WT SOCS3. These changes occurred in the absence of any detrimental effect on the ability of Lys-less SOCS3 to interact with the Elongin B/C components required to generate a functional E3 ligase complex. In addition, both WT and Lys-less SOCS3 were equally capable of inhibiting cytokine-stimulated STAT3 phosphorylation upon co-expression with a chimeric EpoR-gp130 receptor. To assess whether SOCS3 auto-ubiquitylates I generated an L189A SOCS3 mutant that could no longer bind the Elongins and therefore form the E3 ligase complex required for ubiquitylation. A denaturing IP to assess the ubiquitylation status of this mutant was performed and revealed that, despite an inability to bind the Elongins, the L189A mutant was poly-ubiquitylated similar to WT SOCS3. Together these data suggested that SOCS3 does not auto-ubiquitylate and that a separate E3 ligase must regulate SOCS3 ubiquitylation. This study sought to identify the E3 ligase and deubiquitylating (DUB) enzymes controlling the ubiquitylation of SOCS3. Our initial strategy was to develop a tool to screen an E3 ligase/DUB library, using an siARRAY, to sequentially knockdown all known E3 ligases in the presence of a SOCS3-luciferase fusion protein or endogenous SOCS3 in a high content imaging screening platform. However, due to a poor assay window (<2) and non-specific immunoreactivity of SOCS3 antibodies available, these methods were deemed unsuitable for screening purposes. In the absence of a suitable tool to screen the si-ARRAY, LC-MS-MS analysis of a SOCS3 co-immunoprecipitate (co-IP) was investigated. I performed a SOCS3 under conditions which preserved protein-protein interactions, with the aim of identifying novel E3 ligase and/or DUBs that could potentially interact with SOCS3. These data were searched for E3 ligase or DUB enzymes that may interact with SOCS3 in HEK293 cells and identified two promising candidates i) an E3 ligase known as HectD1 and ii) a DUB known as USP15. This thesis has demonstrated that in the presence of HectD1 overexpression, a slight increase in K63-linked polyubiquitylation of SOCS3 was observed. Mutagenesis also revealed that an N-terminal region of SOCS3 may act as a repressor of this interaction with HectD1. Additionally, USP15 was shown to reduce SOCS3 polyubiquitylation in a HEK293 overexpression system suggesting this may act as a DUB for SOCS3. The C-terminal region of SOCS3 was also shown to play a major role in the interaction with USP15. The original hypothesis of this thesis was that stabilisation of endogenous SOCS3 by inhibiting its ubiquitylation has the potential to limit vascular inflammation and NIH. Consistent with this hypothesis, immunohistochemistry visualisation of SOCS3, in human saphenous vein tissue derived from CABG patients, revealed that while SOCS3 was present throughout the media of these vessels the levels of SOCS3 within the neointima was reduced. Finally, preliminary data supporting the hypothesis that SOCS3 overexpression may limit the proliferation, but not migration, of human saphenous vein smooth muscle cells (HSVSMCs) is presented. It is expected that multiple E3 ligases and DUBs will contribute to the regulation of SOCS3 turnover. However, the identification of candidate E3 ligases or DUBs that play a significant role in SOCS3 turnover may facilitate the development of peptide disruptors or gene therapy targets to attenuate pathological SMC proliferation. A targeted approach, inhibiting the interaction between SOCS3 and identified E3 ligase, that controls the levels of SOCS3, would be expected to reduce the undesirable effects associated with global inhibition of the E3 ligase involved.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: RM Therapeutics. Pharmacology