Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase 1 (PARP1) is a key molecular stress sensor and response mediator implicated in multiple cellular functions in health and diseases. Despite its importance and intrinsic involvement in pivotal molecular and cellular processes, including DNA repair, transcription regulation, chromatin organization, and cell death, the regulatory mechanisms of PARP1 are poorly understood. In this study, we show that SMURF2, a HECT-type E3 ubiquitin ligase and suggested tumor suppressor, physically interacts with PARP1 in different cellular settings, directly ubiquitinates it in vitro and stimulates its PARylation activity in cells, the phenomenon that required SMURF2 E3 ubiquitin ligase function. Intriguingly, in the cellular environment SMURF2 was found to regulate the dynamic exchange of ubiquitin moieties on PARP1, mostly decreasing its monoubiquitination. Through the set of systematic mass spectrometry analyses conducted on SMURF2-modified cells, we identified on PARP1 18 lysine residues (out of 126 present in PARP1) as sites which ubiquitination was considerably affected by SMURF2. Subsequent site-directed mutagenesis coupled with in cellula ubiquitination and PARylation assays unveiled K222 as a critical site enabling a cross talk between SMURF2-modulated monoubiquitination of PARP1 and its activity, and pointed to K498, S507, and a KTR triad (K498/K521/K524) as the main auto-PARylation sites affected by SMURF2. The results also uncovered that SMURF2 controls PARP1 interactome, influencing its functions and expression in a context-dependent manner. Taken together, these findings suggest that SMURF2-mediated ubiquitin signaling plays an essential role in PARP1 regulation, beyond the regulation of its protein expression.
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