PTEN is a lipid phosphatase that converts phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-phosphate (PIP3) to phosphatidylinositol 4,5-phosphate (PIP2) and plays a critical role in the regulation of tumor growth. PTEN is subject to regulation by a variety of post-translational modifications, including phosphorylation on a C-terminal cluster of four Ser/Thr residues (380, 382, 383, and 385) and ubiquitylation by various E3 ligases, including NEDD4-1 and WWP2. It has previously been shown that C-terminal phosphorylation of PTEN can increase its cellular half-life. Using in vitro ubiquitin transfer assays, we show that WWP2 is more active than NEDD4-1 in ubiquitylating unphosphorylated PTEN. The mapping of ubiquitylation sites in PTEN by mass spectrometry showed that both NEDD4-1 and WWP2 can target a broad range of Lys residues in PTEN, although NEDD4-1 versus WWP2 showed a stronger preference for ubiquitylating PTEN's C2 domain. Whereas tetraphosphorylation of PTEN did not significantly affect its ubiquitylation by NEDD4-1, it inhibited PTEN ubiquitylation by WWP2. Single-turnover and pull-down experiments suggested that tetraphosphorylation of PTEN appears to weaken its interaction with WWP2. These studies reveal how the PTEN E3 ligases WWP2 and NEDD4-1 exhibit distinctive properties in Lys selectivity and sensitivity to PTEN phosphorylation. Our findings also provide a molecular mechanism for the connection between PTEN Ser/Thr phosphorylation and PTEN's cellular stability.
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© 2016 American Chemical Society.