Carboxyl terminus of HSC70-interacting protein (CHIP) downregulates NF-{kappa}B-inducing kinase (NIK) and suppresses NIK-induced liver inȷury [Molecular Bases of Disease]

March 19th, 2015 by Jiang, B., Shen, H., Chen, Z., Yin, L., Zan, L., Rui, L.

Ser/Thr kinase NIK mediates the activation of the noncanonical NF-κB2 pathway, and it plays an important role in regulating immune cell development and liver homeostasis. NIK levels are extremely low in quiescent cells due to ubiquitin/proteasome-mediated degradation, and cytokines stimulate NIK activation through increasing NIK stability; however, regulation of NIK stability is not fully understood. We here identified CHIP as a new negative regulator of NIK. CHIP contains three N-terminal tetratricopeptide repeats (TPRs), a middle dimerization domain, and a C-terminal U-box. The U-box domain contains ubiquitin E3 ligase activity that promotes ubiquitination of CHIP-bound partners. We observed that CHIP bound to NIK via its TPR domain. In both HEK293 and primary hepatocytes, overexpression of CHIP markedly decreased NIK levels at least in part through increasing ubiquitination and degradation of NIK. Accordingly, CHIP suppressed NIK-induced activation of the noncanonical NF-κB2 pathway. CHIP also bound to TRAF3, and CHIP and TRAF3 acted coordinately to efficiently promote NIK degradation. The TPR but not the U-box domain was required for CHIP to promote NIK degradation. In mice, hepatocyte-specific overexpression of NIK resulted in liver inflammation and injury, leading to death, and liver-specific expression of CHIP reversed the detrimental effects of hepatic NIK. Our data suggest that CHIP/TRAF3/NIK interactions recruit NIK to E3 ligase complexes for ubiquitination and degradation, thus maintaining NIK at low levels. Defects in CHIP regulation of NIK may result in aberrant NIK activation in the liver, contributing to live injury, inflammation, and disease.
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