Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress-induced Degradation of DNAJB12 Stimulates BOK Accumulation and Primes Cancer Cells for Apoptosis [Cell Biology]

May 23rd, 2017 by Pattarawut Sopha, Hong Yu Ren, Diane E. Grove, Douglas M Cyr

DNAJB12 (JB12) is an endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-associated Hsp40 family protein that recruits Hsp70 to the ER surface to coordinate the function of ER-associated and cytosolic chaperone systems in protein quality control. Hsp70 is stress inducible, but paradoxically, we report here that JB12 was degraded by the proteasome during severe ER stress. Destabilized JB12 was degraded by ER-associated degradation (ERAD) complexes that contained HERP, Sel1L, and gp78. JB12 was the only ER-associated chaperone that was destabilized by reductive stress. JB12 knockdown by siRNA led to the induction of Caspase processing, but not the unfolded protein response. ER stress-induced apoptosis is regulated by the highly labile and ER associated BCL-2 family member BOK, which is controlled at the level of protein stability by ERAD components. We found that JB12 was required in Huh-7 liver cancer cells to maintain BOK at low levels and BOK was detected in complexes with JB12 and gp78. Depletion of JB12 during reductive stress or by shRNA from Huh-7 cells was associated with accumulation of BOK, and activation of Caspase 3, 7, and 9. Absence of JB12 sensitized Huh-7 to death caused by proteotoxic agents and the proapoptotic chemotherapeutic LCL-161. In summary, JB12 is a stress sensitive Hsp40 whose degradation during severe ER stress provides a mechanism to promote BOK accumulation and induction of apoptosis.