METHODS: Using a Usp7K444R point mutation knock-in mouse strain, we performed immunohistochemistry and standard molecular biological methods to examine the organ defects of liver and kidney in this knock-in mouse strain. Mechanistic studies were performed by using deubiquitination, immunoprecipitation, and quantitative immunoprecipitations (qChIP) assays.
RESULTS: We observed multiple organ defects, including decreased liver and muscle weight, decreased tibia/fibula length, liver glycogen storage defect, and polycystic kidneys. The underlying mechanisms include the regulation of protein stability and/or modulation of transcriptional activation of several key factors, leading to decreased protein levels of Prr5l, Hnf4α, Cebpα, and Hnf1β. Repression of these crucial factors leads to the organ defects described above.
CONCLUSIONS: K63-polyubiquitinated Usp7 plays an essential role in the development of multiple organs and illustrates the importance of the process of K63-linked polyubiquitination in regulating critical protein functions.