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Keywords:

  • endocytosis;
  • epidermal growth factor;
  • Hgs;
  • Hrs;
  • Nedd4;
  • signal transduction;
  • tyrosine kinase;
  • ubiquitin

Ligand-dependent endocytosis of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) involves recruitment of a ubiquitin ligase, and sorting of ubiquitylated receptors to lysosomal degradation. By studying Hgs, a mammalian homolog of a yeast vacuolar-sorting adaptor, we provide information on the less understood, ligand-independent pathway of receptor endocytosis and degradation. Constitutive endocytosis involves receptor ubiquitylation and translocation to Hgs-containing endosomes. Whereas the lipid-binding motif of Hgs is necessary for receptor endocytosis, the ubiquitin-interacting motif negatively regulates receptor degradation. We demonstrate that the ubiquitin-interacting motif is endowed with two functions: it binds ubiquitylated proteins and it targets self-ubiquitylation by recruiting Nedd4, an ubiquitin ligase previously implicated in endocytosis. Based upon the dual function of the ubiquitin-interacting motif and its wide occurrence in endocytic adaptors, we propose a ubiquitin-interacting motif network that relays ubiquitylated membrane receptors to lysosomal degradation through successive budding events.