MGRN1-dependent pigment-type switching requires its ubiquitination activity but not its interaction with TSG101 or NEDD4

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Mice lacking the E3 ubiquitin ligase mahogunin ring finger-1 (MGRN1) have a pleiotropic phenotype that includes spongiform neurodegeneration, embryonic patterning defects, and dark fur due to a defect in pigment-type switching. The only MGRN1 ubiquitination target identified to date is tumor susceptibility gene 101 (TSG101), a component of the endosomal trafficking machinery. Here, we show that MGRN1 also interacts with but does not ubiquitinate NEDD4, a HECT-domain ubiquitin ligase involved in endosomal trafficking. Using transgenesis in mice, we demonstrate that pigment-type switching likely requires MGRN1′s ubiquitin ligase activity but not its ability to bind TSG101 or NEDD4. This indicates that MGRN1-dependent ubiquitination of an as-yet unidentified target protein is required for agouti-mediated melanocortin signaling.

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