Research ArticleCELL BIOLOGY

DUSP6 SUMOylation protects cells from oxidative damage via direct regulation of Drp1 dephosphorylation

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Science Advances  25 Mar 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 13, eaaz0361
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaz0361


Imbalanced mitochondrial fission/fusion, a major cause of apoptotic cell death, often results from dysregulation of Drp1 phosphorylation of two serines, S616 and S637. Whereas kinases for Drp1-S616 phosphorylation are well-described, phosphatase(s) for its dephosphorylation remains unclear. Here, we show that dual-specificity phosphatase 6 (DUSP6) dephosphorylates Drp1-S616 independently of its known substrates ERK1/2. DUSP6 keeps Drp1-S616 phosphorylation levels low under normal conditions. The stability and catalytic function of DUSP6 are maintained through conjugation of small ubiquitin-like modifier-1 (SUMO1) and SUMO2/3 at lysine-234 (K234), which is disrupted during oxidation through transcriptional up-regulation of SUMO-deconjugating enzyme, SENP1, causing DUSP6 degradation by ubiquitin-proteasome. deSUMOylation underlies DUSP6 degradation, Drp1-S616 hyperphosphorylation, mitochondrial fragmentation, and apoptosis induced by H2O2 in cultured cells or brain ischemia/reperfusion in mice. Overexpression of DUSP6, but not the SUMOylation-deficient DUSP6K234R mutant, protected cells from apoptosis. Thus, DUSP6 exerts a cytoprotective role by directly dephosphorylating Drp1-S616, which is disrupted by deSUMOylation under oxidation.

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