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ABSTRACT Wnt signaling is critically dependent on dishevelled proteins (DVL1-3), which are required to assemble an intracellular Wnt signalosome at the plasma membrane. The levels of dishevelled proteins are strictly regulated by multiple E3 ubiquitin ligases that target DVL1-3 for ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation. The BTB-Kelch family protein KLHL12 is a substrate-specific adaptor for a Cullin-RING E3 ligase complex that contains Cullin3 and Rbx1. KLHL12 was the first E3 ligase to be identified for DVL1-3, but the molecular mechanisms determining its substrate interactions have remained unknown. Here, we mapped the interaction of DVL1-3 to a ‘PGXPP’ motif that is conserved in other known partners and substrates of KLHL12, including PLEXHA4, PEF1 and SEC31. A 20-mer peptide containing the DVL1 motif bound to the Kelch domain of KLHL12 with low micromolar affinity. In cells, the mutation or deletion of this motif caused a striking reduction in the binding, ubiquitination and stability of DVL1 confirming this sequence as a degron motif for KLHL12 recruitment. To determine the binding mechanism we solved a 2.4 Å crystal structure of the Kelch domain of KLHL12 in complex with a DVL1 peptide. The structure revealed that the DVL1 substrate adopted a U-shaped turn conformation that enabled hydrophobic interactions with all six blades of the Kelch domain β-propeller. Overall, these results define the molecular mechanisms determining DVL regulation by KLHL12 and establish the KLHL12 Kelch domain as a new protein interaction module for a novel proline-rich motif.

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