RING-finger protein 166 plays a novel pro-apoptotic role in neurotoxin-induced neurodegeneration via ubiquitination of XIAP

Chang Ki Oh, Young Ki Choi, Ih Yeon Hwang, Yeon Uk Ko, In Kwon Chung, Nuri Yun, Young J. Oh

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5 Citations (Scopus)


The dopaminergic neurotoxin, 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA), has been widely utilized to establish experimental models of Parkinson disease and to reveal the critical molecules and pathway underlying neuronal death. The profile of gene expression changes following 6-OHDA treatment of MN9D dopaminergic neuronal cells was investigated using a TwinChip Mouse-7.4K microarray. Functional clustering of altered sets of genes identified RING-finger protein 166 (RNF166). RNF166 is composed of an N-terminal RING domain and C-terminal ubiquitin interaction motif. RNF166 localized in the cytosol and nucleus. At the tissue level, RNF166 was widely expressed in the central nervous system and peripheral organs. In the cerebral cortex, its expression decreased over time. In certain conditions, overexpression of RNF166 accelerates the naturally occurring neuronal death and 6-OHDA–induced MN9D cell death as determined by TUNEL and annexin-V staining, and caspase activation. Consequently, 6-OHDA–induced apoptotic cell death was attenuated in RNF166-knockdown cells. In an attempt to elucidate the mechanism underlying this pro-apoptotic activity, binding protein profiles were assessed using the yeast two-hybrid system. Among several potential binding candidates, RNF166 was shown to interact with the cytoplasmic X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis (XIAP), inducing ubiquitin-dependent degradation of XIAP and eventually accelerating caspase activation following 6-OHDA treatment. RNF166’s interaction with and resulting inhibition of the XIAP anti-caspase activity was further enhanced by XIAP-associated factor-1 (XAF-1). Consequently, depletion of RNF166 suppressed 6-OHDA–induced caspase activation and apoptotic cell death, which was reversed by XIAP knockdown. In summary, our data suggest that RNF166, a novel E3 ligase, plays a pro-apoptotic role via caspase activation in neuronal cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article number939
JournalCell Death and Disease
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Oct 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a grant from the Mid-Career Program (2019R1A2C1088793 to YJO), and in part by a grant from the Brain Research Program (2017M3C7A1025369 to Y.J.O.) and by the Small Grant for Exploratory Research Program (2018R1D1A02085731 to N.Y.) through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF), funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT, & Future Planning.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, The Author(s).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer Research


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