The 26S proteasome, a self-compartmentalized protease complex, plays a crucial role in protein quality control. Multiple levels of regulatory systems modulate proteasomal activity for substrate hydrolysis. However, the destruction mechanism of mammalian proteasomes is poorly understood. We found that inhibited proteasomes are sequestered into the insoluble aggresome via HDAC6- and dynein-mediated transport. These proteasomes colocalized with the autophagic receptor SQSTM1 and cleared through selective macroautophagy, linking aggresomal segregation to autophagic degradation. This proteaphagic pathway was counterbalanced with the recovery of proteasomal activity and was critical for reducing cellular proteasomal stress. Changes in associated proteins and polyubiquitylation on inhibited 26S proteasomes participated in the targeting mechanism to the aggresome and autophagosome. The STUB1 E3 Ub ligase specifically ubiquitylated purified human proteasomes in vitro, mainly via Lys63-linked chains. Genetic and chemical inhibition of STUB1 activity significantly impaired proteasome processing and reduced resistance to proteasomal stress. These data demonstrate that aggresomal sequestration is the crucial upstream event for proteasome quality control and overall protein homeostasis in mammals.
proteasome, aggresome, proteaphagy, ubiquitin, STUB1