Periz G, Lu J, Zhang T, Kankel MW, Jablonski AM, Kalb R, McCampbell A, Wang J
Protein quality control is essential for clearing misfolded and aggregated proteins from the cell, and its failure is associated with many neurodegenerative disorders. Here, we identify two genes, ufd-2 and spr-5, that when inactivated, synergistically and robustly suppress neurotoxicity associated with misfolded proteins in Caenorhabditis elegans. Loss of human orthologs ubiquitination factor E4 B (UBE4B) and lysine-specific demethylase 1 (LSD1), respectively encoding a ubiquitin ligase and a lysine-specific demethylase, promotes the clearance of misfolded proteins in mammalian cells by activating both proteasomal and autophagic degradation machineries. An unbiased search in this pathway reveals a downstream effector as the transcription factor p53, a shared substrate of UBE4B and LSD1 that functions as a key regulator of protein quality control to protect against proteotoxicity. These studies identify a new protein quality control pathway via regulation of transcription factors and point to the augmentation of protein quality control as a wide-spectrum antiproteotoxicity strategy.