The dual leucine zipper kinase (DLK) is a key regulator of axon regeneration and degeneration in response to neuronal injury; however, regulatory mechanisms of the DLK function via its interacting proteins are largely unknown. To better understand the molecular mechanism of DLK function, we performed yeast two-hybrid screening analysis and identified FK506-binding protein-like (FKBPL, also known as WAF-1/ CIP1 stabilizing protein 39) as a DLK-binding protein. FKBPL binds to the kinase domain of DLK and inhibits its kinase activity. In addition, FKBPL induces DLK protein degradation through ubiquitin-dependent pathways. We further assessed other members in the FKBP protein family and found that FK506-binding protein 8 (FKBP8) also induced DLK degradation. We identified the lysine 271 residue in the kinase domain as a major site of DLK ubiquitination and SUMO3 conjugation and was thus responsible for regulating FKBP8-mediated proteasomal degradation that was inhibited by the substitution of the lysine 271 to arginine. FKBP8-mediated degradation of DLK is mediated by autophagy pathway because knockdown of Atg5 inhibited DLK destabilization. We show that in vivo overexpression of FKBP8 delayed the progression of axon degeneration and suppressed neuronal death after axotomy in sciatic and optic nerves. Taken together, this study identified FKBPL and FKBP8 as novel DLK-interacting proteins that regulate DLK stability via the ubiquitin-proteasome and lysosomal protein degradation pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101647
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022


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