SCF ubiquitin ligases target numerous proteins for ubiquitin dependent proteolysis, including p27 and cyclin E. SCF and other cullin-RING ligases (CRLs) are regulated by the ubiquitin-like protein Nedd8 that covalently modifies the cullin subunit. The removal of Nedd8 is catalyzed by the Jab1/MPN domain metalloenzyme (JAMM) motif within the Csn5 subunit of the Cop9 Signalosome.
Here, we conditionally knock down Csn5 expression in HEK293 human cells using a doxycycline-inducible shRNA system. Cullin levels were not altered in CSN-deficient human cells, but the levels of multiple F-box proteins were decreased. Molecular analysis indicates that this decrease was due to increased Cul1- and proteasome-dependent turnover. Diminished F-box levels resulted in reduced SCF activity, as evidenced by accumulation of two substrates of the F-box protein Fbw7, cyclin E and c-myc, in Csn5-depleted cells.
We propose that deneddylation of Cul1 is required to sustain optimal activity of SCF ubiquitin ligases by repressing 'autoubiquitination' of F-box proteins within SCF complexes, thereby rescuing them from premature degradation.
The human genome encodes 69 different F-box proteins (FBPs), each of which can potentially assemble with Skp1-Cul1-RING to serve as the substrate specificity subunit of an SCF ubiquitin ligase complex. SCF activity is switched on by conjugation of the ubiquitin-like protein Nedd8 to Cul1. Cycles of Nedd8 conjugation and deconjugation acting in conjunction with the Cul1-sequestering factor Cand1 are thought to control dynamic cycles of SCF assembly and disassembly, which would enable a dynamic equilibrium between the Cul1-RING catalytic core of SCF and the cellular repertoire of FBPs. To test this hypothesis, we determined the cellular composition of SCF complexes and evaluated the impact of Nedd8 conjugation on this steady-state. At least 42 FBPs assembled with Cul1 in HEK 293 cells, and the levels of Cul1-bound FBPs varied by over two orders of magnitude. Unexpectedly, quantitative mass spectrometry revealed that blockade of Nedd8 conjugation led to a modest increase, rather than a decrease, in the overall level of most SCF complexes. We suggest that multiple mechanisms including FBP dissociation and turnover cooperate to maintain the cellular pool of SCF ubiquitin ligases.
Recent investigation of Cullin 4 (CUL4) has ushered this class of multiprotein ubiquitin E3 ligases to center stage as critical regulators of diverse processes including cell cycle regulation, developmental patterning, DNA replication, DNA damage and repair, and epigenetic control of gene expression. CUL4 associates with DNA Damage Binding protein 1 (DDB1) to assemble an ubiquitin E3 ligase that targets protein substrates for ubiquitin-dependent proteolysis. CUL4 ligase activity is also regulated by the covalent attachment of the ubiquitin-like protein NEDD8 to CUL4, or neddylation, and the COP9 signalosome complex (CSN) that removes this important modification. Recently, multiple WD40-repeat proteins (WDR) were found to interact with DDB1 and serve as the substrate-recognition subunits of the CUL4-DDB1 ubiquitin ligase. As more than 150–300 WDR proteins exist in the human genome, these findings impact a wide array of biological processes through CUL4 ligase-mediated proteolysis. Here, we review the recent progress in understanding the mechanism of CUL4 ubiquitin E3 ligase and discuss the architecture of CUL4-assembled E3 ubiquitin ligase complexes by comparison to CUL1-based E3s (SCF). Then, we will review several examples to highlight the critical roles of CUL4 ubiquitin ligase in genome stability, cell cycle regulation, and histone lysine methylation. Together, these studies provide insights into the mechanism of this novel ubiquitin ligase in the regulation of important biological processes.
Background: A detailed description of the kinetics of deneddylation of cullin by CSN has been lacking.
Results: Selected factors and SCF subunits are able to inhibit deneddylation to varying degrees. CSN interferes with SCF-mediated ubiquitination through a noncatalytic mechanism.
Conclusion: Deneddylation of Cul1 by CSN is regulated by F-box protein, substrate, and other factors.
Significance: Our work reported here could facilitate the development of directed therapies.
COP9 signalosome (CSN) mediates deconjugation of the ubiquitin-like protein Nedd8 from the cullin subunits of SCF and other cullin-RING ubiquitin ligases (CRLs). This process is essential to maintain the proper activity of CRLs in cells. Here, we report a detailed kinetic characterization of CSN-mediated deconjugation of Nedd8 from SCF. CSN is an efficient enzyme, with a kcat of ∼1 s−1 and Kmfor neddylated Cul1-Rbx1 of ∼200 nm, yielding a kcat/Km near the anticipated diffusion-controlled limit. Assembly with an F-box-Skp1 complex markedly inhibited deneddylation, although the magnitude varied considerably, with Fbw7-Skp1 inhibiting by ∼5-fold but Skp2-Cks1-Skp1 by only ∼15%. Deneddylation of both SCFFbw7 and SCFSkp2-Cks1 was further inhibited ∼2.5-fold by the addition of substrate. Combined, the inhibition by Fbw7-Skp1 plus its substrate cyclin E was greater than 10-fold. Unexpectedly, our results also uncover significant product inhibition by deconjugated Cul1, which results from the ability of Cul1 to bind tightly to CSN. Reciprocally, CSN inhibits the ubiquitin ligase activity of deneddylated Cul1. We propose a model in which assembled CRL complexes engaged with substrate are normally refractory to deneddylation. Upon consumption of substrate and subsequent deneddylation, CSN can remain stably bound to the CRL and hold it in low state of reduced activity.
Analytical Biochemistry; Enzyme Kinetics; Protein Degradation; Protein-Protein Interactions; Ubiquitin Ligase; CSN; Cop9; Cul1; Nedd8; Deneddylation
Csn2 (Trip15/Cops2/Alien) encodes the second subunit of the COP9 signalosome (CSN), an eight-subunit heteromeric complex homologous to the lid subcomplex of the 26S proteasome. CSN is a regulator of SCF (Skp1-cullin-F-box protein)ubiquitin ligases, mostly through the enzymatic activity that deconjugates the ubiquitin-like protein Nedd8 from the SCF Cul1 component. In addition, CSN associates with protein kinase activities targeting p53, c-Jun, and IκB for phosphorylation. Csn2 also interacts with and regulates a subset of nuclear hormone receptors and is considered a novel corepressor. We report that targeted disruption of Csn2 in mice caused arrest of embryo development at the peri-implantation stage. Csn2−/− blastocysts failed to outgrow in culture and exhibited a cell proliferation defect in inner cell mass, accompanied by a slight decrease in Oct4. In addition, lack of Csn2 disrupted the CSN complex and resulted in a drastic increase in cyclin E, supporting a role for CSN in cooperating with the SCF-ubiquitin-proteasome system to regulate protein turnover. Furthermore, Csn2−/− embryos contained elevated levels of p53 and p21, which may contribute to premature cell cycle arrest of the mutant.
SCF (Skp1–cullin/Cdc53–F-box protein) ubiquitin ligases bind substrates via the variable F-box protein and, in conjunction with the RING domain protein Rbx1 and the ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme Ubc3/Cdc34, catalyze substrate ubiquitination. The cullin subunit can be modified covalently by conjugation of the ubiquitin-like protein Rub1/NEDD8 (neddylation) or bound noncovalently by the protein CAND1 (cullin-associated, neddylation-dissociated). Expression of the Candida albicans CAND1 gene homolog CaTIP120 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae is toxic only in the presence of CaCdc53, consistent with a specific interaction between CaTip120 and CaCdc53. To genetically analyze this system in C. albicans, we deleted the homologs of RUB1/NEDD8, TIP120/CAND1, and the deneddylase gene JAB1, and we also generated a temperature-sensitive allele of the essential CaCDC53 gene by knock-in site-directed mutagenesis. Deletion of CaRUB1 and CaTIP120 caused morphological, growth, and protein degradation phenotypes consistent with a reduction in SCF ubiquitin ligase activity. Furthermore, the double Carub1−/− Catip120−/− mutant was more defective in SCF activity than either individual deletion mutant. These results indicate that CAND1 stimulates SCF ubiquitin ligase activity and that it does so independently of neddylation. Our data do not support a role for CAND1 in the protection of either the F-box protein or cullin from degradation but are consistent with the suggested role of CAND1 in SCF complex remodeling.
Cullins are members of a family of scaffold proteins that assemble multisubunit ubiquitin ligase complexes to confer substrate specificity for the ubiquitination pathway. Cullin3 (Cul3) forms a catalytically inactive BTB-Cul3-Rbx1 (BCR) ubiquitin ligase, which becomes functional upon covalent attachment of the ubiquitin homologue neural-precursor-cell-expressed and developmentally down regulated 8 (Nedd8) near the C terminus of Cul3. Current models suggest that Nedd8 activates cullin complexes by providing a recognition site for a ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme. Based on the following evidence, we propose that Nedd8 activates the BCR ubiquitin ligase by mediating the dimerization of Cul3. First, Cul3 is found as a neddylated heterodimer bound to a BTB domain-containing protein in vivo. Second, the formation of a Cul3 heterodimer is mediated by a Nedd8 molecule, which covalently attaches itself to one Cul3 molecule and binds to the winged-helix B domain at the C terminus of the second Cul3 molecule. Third, complementation experiments revealed that coexpression of two distinct nonfunctional Cul3 mutants can rescue the ubiquitin ligase function of the BCR complex. Likewise, a substrate of the BCR complex binds heterodimeric Cul3, suggesting that the Cul3 complex is active as a dimer. These findings not only provide insight into the architecture of the active BCR complex but also suggest assembly as a regulatory mechanism for activation of all cullin-based ubiquitin ligases.
Cullin-RING ubiquitin ligases (CRLs) are critical regulators of multiple developmental and cellular processes in eukaryotes. CAND1 is a biochemical inhibitor of CRLs, yet has been shown to promote CRL activity in plant and mammalian cells. Here we analyze CAND1 function in the context of a developing metazoan organism. C. elegans CAND-1 is capable of binding to all of the cullins, and we show that it physically interacts with CUL-2 and CUL-4 in vivo. The covalent attachment of the ubiquitin-like protein Nedd8 is required for cullin activity in animals and plants. In cand-1 mutants, the levels of the neddylated isoforms of CUL-2 and CUL-4 are increased, indicating that CAND-1 is a negative regulator of cullin neddylation. cand-1 mutants are hypersensitive to the partial loss of cullin activity, suggesting that CAND-1 facilitates CRL functions. cand-1 mutants exhibit impenetrant phenotypes, including developmental arrest, morphological defects of the vulva and tail, and reduced fecundity. cand-1 mutants share with cul-1 and lin-23 mutants the phenotypes of supernumerary seam cell divisions, defective alae formation, and the accumulation of the SCFLIN-23 target the glutamate receptor GLR-1. The observation that cand-1 mutants have phenotypes associated with the loss of the SCFLIN-23 complex, but lack phenotypes associated with other specific CRL complexes, suggests that CAND-1 is differentially required for the activity of distinct CRL complexes.
CAND1; CRL; cullin; Nedd8; neddylation; ubiquitin ligase; seam cells
Cullin ubiquitin ligases are activated via the covalent modification of Cullins by the small ubiquitin-like protein nedd8 in a process called neddylation. Genetic mutations of cullin-4b (cul4b) cause a prevalent type of X-linked intellectual disability (XLID) in males, but the physiological function of Cul4B in neuronal cells remains unclear.
There are three major isoforms of Cul4B (1, 2, and 3) in human and rodent tissues. By examining the endogenous Cul4B isoforms in the brain, this study demonstrates that Cul4B-1 and Cul4B-2 isoforms are unneddylated and more abundant in the brain whereas the lesser species Cul4B-3 that misses the N-terminus present in the other two isoforms is neddylated. The data suggest that the N-terminus of Cul4B inhibits neddylation in the larger isoforms. Immunostaining of human NT-2 cells also shows that most Cul4B is unneddylated, especially when it is localized in the process in G0-synchronized cells. This study demonstrates that Cul4B accumulates during mitosis and downregulation of Cul4B arrests NPCs and NT-2 cells in the G2/M phase of the cell cycle. In both human and rodent brain tissues, Cul4B-positive cells accumulate β-catenin in the dentate subgranular zone and the subventricular zone. These Cul4B-positive cells also co-express the MPM-2 mitotic epitope, suggesting that Cul4B is also necessary for mitosis progression in vivo.
This study provides first evidence that unneddylated Cul4B isoforms exist in the brain and are necessary for mitosis progression in NPCs. The data suggest that unneddylated Cul4B isoforms specifically inhibits β-catenin degradation during mitosis. Furthermore, unneddylated Cul4B may play a role in addition to cell cycle since it is exclusively localized to the processes in starved NT-2 cells. Further analyses of the different isoforms of Cul4B will help understand the cognitive deficits in Cul4B-linked XLID and give insights into drug and biomarker discoveries.
Cullin; Neurogenesis; Ubiquitination; Neddylation; Mental retardation; β-catenin
The cycle inhibiting factors (Cif), produced by pathogenic bacteria isolated from vertebrates and invertebrates, belong to a family of molecules called cyclomodulins that interfere with the eukaryotic cell cycle. Cif blocks the cell cycle at both the G1/S and G2/M transitions by inducing the stabilization of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors p21waf1 and p27kip1. Using yeast two-hybrid screens, we identified the ubiquitin-like protein NEDD8 as a target of Cif. Cif co-compartmentalized with NEDD8 in the host cell nucleus and induced accumulation of NEDD8-conjugated cullins. This accumulation occurred early after cell infection and correlated with that of p21 and p27. Co-immunoprecipitation revealed that Cif interacted with cullin-RING ubiquitin ligase complexes (CRLs) through binding with the neddylated forms of cullins 1, 2, 3, 4A and 4B subunits of CRL. Using an in vitro ubiquitylation assay, we demonstrate that Cif directly inhibits the neddylated CUL1-associated ubiquitin ligase activity. Consistent with this inhibition and the interaction of Cif with several neddylated cullins, we further observed that Cif modulates the cellular half-lives of various CRL targets, which might contribute to the pathogenic potential of diverse bacteria.
Among the arsenal of virulence factors used by bacterial pathogens to infect and manipulate their hosts, cyclomodulins are a growing family of bacterial toxins that interfere with the eukaryotic cell-cycle. Cif is one of these cyclomodulins produced by both mammalian and invertebrate pathogenic bacteria. Cif blocks the host cell cycle by inducing the accumulation of two regulators of cell cycle progression: the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors p21 and p27. To decipher the mode of action of Cif, we performed yeast two-hybrid screenings. We show that Cif binds to NEDD8 and induce accumulation of neddylated cullins early after infection. Cullins are scaffold components of cullin-RING ubiquitin ligases (CRLs), which ubiquitinate proteins and target them for degradation by the 26S proteasome. We demonstrate that Cif directly inhibits the ubiquitin ligase activity of these CRLs and consequently the targeting of p21 and p27 for ubiquitin-dependent degradation. Targeting at NEDD8 represents a novel strategy for modulation of host cell functions by bacterial pathogens. By inhibiting the most prominent class of ubiquitin-ligases, Cif controls the stability of a cohort of key regulators and impinge on not only cell cycle progression but also on many cellular and biological processes such as immunity, development, transcription, and cell signaling.
Ubiquitin and UBL (ubiquitin-like) modifiers are small proteins that covalently modify other proteins to alter their properties or behaviours. Ubiquitin modification (ubiquitylation) targets many substrates, often leading to their proteasomal degradation. NEDD8 (neural-precursor-cell-expressed developmentally down-regulated 8) is the UBL most closely related to ubiquitin, and its best-studied role is the activation of CRLs (cullin-RING ubiquitin ligases) by its conjugation to a conserved C-terminal lysine residue on cullin proteins. The attachment of UBLs requires three UBL-specific enzymes, termed E1, E2 and E3, which are usually well insulated from parallel UBL pathways. In the present study, we report a new mode of NEDD8 conjugation (NEDDylation) whereby the UBL NEDD8 is linked to proteins by ubiquitin enzymes in vivo. We found that this atypical NEDDylation is independent of classical NEDD8 enzymes, conserved from yeast to mammals, and triggered by an increase in the NEDD8 to ubiquitin ratio. In cells, NEDD8 overexpression leads to this type of NEDDylation by increasing the concentration of NEDD8, whereas proteasome inhibition has the same effect by depleting free ubiquitin. We show that bortezomib, a proteasome inhibitor used in cancer therapy, triggers atypical NEDDylation in tissue culture, which suggests that a similar process may occur in patients receiving this treatment.
bortezomib; MG132; MLN4924; neural-precursor-cell-expressed developmentally down-regulated 8 (NEDD8)-activating enzyme (NAE); proteasome; ubiquitinactivating enzyme; BCA3, breast cancer-associated gene 3; CHO, Chinese-hamster ovary; CRL, cullin-RING ubiquitin ligase; EGFR, epidermal growth factor receptor; FBS, fetal bovine serum; HA, haemagglutinin; HRP, horseradish peroxidase; LDS, lithium dodecyl sulfate; NAE, NEDD8-activating enzyme; NEDD8, neural-precursor-cell-expressed developmentally down-regulated 8; siRNA, small interfering RNA; SUMO, small ubiquitin-like modifier; TCA, trichloroacetic acid; UBL, ubiquitin-like; WT, wild-type
Cullin-RING Ligases (CRLs) comprise the largest ubiquitin E3 subclass, in which a central cullin subunit links a substrate-binding adaptor with an E2-binding RING. Covalent attachment of the ubiquitin-like protein NEDD8 to a conserved C-terminal domain (ctd) lysine stimulates CRL ubiquitination activity and prevents binding of the inhibitor CAND1. Here we report striking conformational rearrangements in the crystal structure of NEDD8~Cul5ctd-Rbx1 and SAXS analysis of NEDD8~Cul1ctd-Rbx1 relative to their unmodified counterparts. In NEDD8ylated CRL structures, the cullin WHB and Rbx1 RING subdomains are dramatically reoriented, eliminating a CAND1-binding site and imparting multiple potential catalytic geometries to an associated E2. Biochemical analyses indicate that the structural malleability is important for both CRL NEDD8ylation and subsequent ubiquitination activities. Thus, our results point to a conformational control of CRL activity, with ligation of NEDD8 shifting equilibria to disfavor inactive CAND1-bound closed architectures, and favor dynamic, open forms that promote polyubiquitination.
The AAA ATPase p97 and its UBA-UBX cofactors are thought to extract ubiquitinated proteins from membranes or protein complexes as a prelude to their degradation. However, ubiquitinated targets have not yet been identified for many cofactors, leaving their biological function unclear. Previous analysis has linked the p97 pathway to Cullin-RING ubiquitin Ligases (CRLs); here we demonstrate that the p97 cofactor UBXD7 mediates the p97-CRL interaction through its conserved ubiquitin-interacting motif (UIM). UBXD7, and its yeast ortholog Ubx5, associate only with the active, NEDD8- or Rub1-modified form of cullins. Disruption of the Ubx5 UIM motif results in a loss of CRL binding and consequently impedes degradation of a Cul3 substrate. These results uncover an unexpected and conserved role for NEDD8 in linking CRL ubiquitin ligase function to the p97 pathway.
The proteins from the UBA-UBX family interact with ubiquitylated proteins via their UBA domain and with p97 via their UBX domain, thereby acting as substrate-binding adaptors for the p97 ATPase. In particular, human UBXN7 (also known as UBXD7) mediates p97 interaction with the transcription factor HIF1α that is actively ubiquitylated in normoxic cells by a CUL2-based E3 ligase, CRL2. Mass spectrometry analysis of UBA-UBX protein immunoprecipitates showed that they interact with a multitude of E3 ubiquitin-ligases. Conspicuously, UBXN7 was most proficient in interacting with cullin-RING ligase subunits. We therefore set out to determine whether UBXN7 interaction with cullins was direct or mediated by its ubiquitylated targets bound to the UBA domain.
We show that UBXN7 interaction with cullins is independent of ubiquitin- and substrate-binding. Instead, it relies on the UIM motif in UBXN7 that directly engages the NEDD8 modification on cullins. To understand the functional consequences of UBXN7 interaction with neddylated cullins, we focused on HIF1α, a CUL2 substrate that uses UBXD7/p97 as a ubiquitin-receptor on its way to proteasome-mediated degradation. We find that UBXN7 over-expression converts CUL2 to its neddylated form and causes the accumulation of non-ubiquitylated HIF1α. Both of these effects are strictly UIM-dependent and occur only when UBXN7 contains an intact UIM motif. We also show that HIF1α carrying long ubiquitin-chains can recruit alternative ubiquitin-receptors, lacking p97's ATP-dependent segregase activity.
Our study shows that independently of its function as a ubiquitin-binding adaptor for p97, UBXN7 directly interacts with neddylated cullins and causes the accumulation of the CUL2 substrate HIF1α. We propose that by sequestering CUL2 in its neddylated form, UBXN7 negatively regulates the ubiquitin-ligase activity of CRL2 and this might prevent recruitment of ubiquitin-receptors other than p97 to nuclear HIF1α.
cullin; NEDD8; p97; ubiquitin-dependent degradation; UBXD7
Conjugation of the ubiquitin-like modifier Nedd8 to cullins is critical for the function of SCF-type ubiquitin ligases and thus facilitates ubiquitin conjugation and ultimately degradation of SCF substrates, including several cell cycle regulators. Like ubiquitin, Nedd8 is produced as a precursor that must first be processed before it becomes active. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae this is carried out exclusively by the enzyme Yuh1.
Here we show that in the fission yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, the Yuh1 orthologue, Uch1, is not the sole Nedd8 processing enzyme. Instead it appears that deubiquitylating enzymes can efficiently process the Nedd8 precursor in vivo.
Several enzymes contribute to Nedd8 precursor processing including a number of deubiquitylating enzymes.
Ubiquitin; Nedd8; Rub1; Cullin; Protein degradation; Precursor processing
The SCF (for SKP1, Cullin/CDC53,
F-box protein) ubiquitin ligase targets a number of cell
cycle regulators, transcription factors, and other proteins for
degradation in yeast and mammalian cells. Recent genetic studies
demonstrate that plant F-box proteins are involved in auxin responses,
jasmonate signaling, flower morphogenesis, photocontrol of circadian
clocks, and leaf senescence, implying a large spectrum of functions for
the SCF pathway in plant development. Here, we present a molecular and
functional characterization of plant cullins. The
Arabidopsis genome contains 11 cullin-related genes.
Complementation assays revealed that AtCUL1 but not AtCUL4 can
functionally complement the yeast cdc53 mutant.
Arabidopsis mutants containing transfer DNA
(T-DNA) insertions in the AtCUL1 gene were shown
to display an arrest in early embryogenesis. Consistently, both the
transcript and the protein of the AtCUL1 gene were found
to accumulate in embryos. The AtCUL1 protein localized mainly in the
nucleus but also weakly in the cytoplasm during interphase and
colocalized with the mitotic spindle in metaphase. Our results
demonstrate a critical role for the SCF ubiquitin ligase in
Nedd4 (neural precursor cell expressed developmentally down-regulated gene 4) is an E3 ubiquitin ligase highly conserved from yeast to humans. The expression of Nedd4 is developmentally down-regulated in the mammalian nervous system, but the role of Nedd4 in mammalian neural development remains poorly understood. Here we show that a null mutation of Nedd4 in mice leads to perinatal lethality: mutant mice were stillborn and many of them died in utero before birth (between E15.5–E18.5). In Nedd4 mutant embryos, skeletal muscle fiber sizes and motoneuron numbers are significantly reduced. Surviving motoneurons project axons to their target muscles on schedule, but motor nerves defasciculate upon reaching the muscle surface, suggesting that Nedd4 plays a critical role in fine-tuning the interaction between the nerve and the muscle. Electrophysiological analyses of the neuromuscular junction (NMJ) demonstrate an increased spontaneous miniature endplate potential (mEPP) frequency in Nedd4 mutants. However, the mutant neuromuscular synapses are less responsive to membrane depolarization, compared to the wildtypes. Ultrastructural analyses further reveal that the pre-synaptic nerve terminal branches at the NMJs of Nedd4 mutants are increased in number, but decreased in diameter compared to the wildtypes. These ultrastructural changes are consistent with functional alternation of the NMJs in Nedd4 mutants. Unexpectedly, Nedd4 is not expressed in motoneurons, but is highly expressed in skeletal muscles and Schwann cells. Together, these results demonstrate that Nedd4 is involved in regulating the formation and function of the NMJs through non-cell autonomous mechanisms.
Neuromuscular junction; Mouse genetics; Motoneuron; Synaptogenesis; Mammalian development
Ubiquitin and ubiquitin-like proteins (UBLs) are directed to targets by cascades of E1, E2, and E3 enzymes. The largest ubiquitin E3 subclass consists of cullin-RING ligases (CRLs), which contain one each of several cullins (CUL1, 2, 3, 4, or 5) and RING proteins (RBX1 or 2). CRLs are activated by ligation of the UBL NEDD8 to a conserved cullin Lys. How is cullin NEDD8ylation specificity established? Here we report that like UBE2M (aka UBC12), the previously uncharacterized E2 UBE2F is a NEDD8 conjugating enzyme in vitro and in vivo. Biochemical and structural analyses indicate how plasticity of hydrophobic E1–E2 interactions and E1 conformational flexibility allow one E1 to charge multiple E2s. The E2s have distinct functions, with UBE2M/RBX1 and UBE2F/RBX2 displaying different target cullin specificities. Together, these studies reveal the molecular basis for and functional importance of hierarchical expansion of the NEDD8 conjugation system in establishing selective CRL activation.
Cullin; Cul1; Cul5; Rbx1; Rbx2; Cullin-RING ligase; NEDD8; E2; UBE2M; UBE2F; Ubiquitin
ECV is an E3 ubiquitin ligase complex, which is composed of elongins B and C, Rbx1, Cul2, and the substrate-conferring von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) tumorsuppressor protein that targets the catalytic α subunit of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) for oxygen-dependent ubiquitin-mediated destruction. Mutations in VHL that compromise proper HIFα regulation through ECV have been documented in the majority of renal cell carcinomas, underscoring the significance of the VHL-HIF pathway in renal epithelial oncogenesis. Recent evidence has shown that the modification of Cul2 by the ubiquitin-like molecule NEDD8 increases the activity of ECV to ubiquitylate HIFα. However, the underlying mechanism responsible for the NEDD8-mediated induction of ECV function is unknown. Here, we demonstrate that oxygen-dependent recognition of HIFα by VHL triggers Rbx1-dependent neddylation of Cul2, which preferentially engages the E2 ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme UbcH5a. These events establish a central role for the neddylation of Cul2 in a previously unrecognized, temporally coordinated activation of ECV with the recruitment of its substrate HIFα.
Cul2; NEDD8; UbcH5a; HIFα; VHL
Members of the cullin and RING finger ROC protein families form heterodimeric complexes to constitute a potentially large number of distinct E3 ubiquitin ligases. We report here that the highly conserved C-terminal sequence in CUL1 is dually required, both for nuclear localization and for modification by NEDD8. Disruption of ROC1 binding impaired nuclear accumulation of CUL1 and decreased NEDD8 modification in vivo but had no effect on NEDD8 modification of CUL1 in vitro, suggesting that ROC1 promotes CUL1 nuclear accumulation to facilitate its NEDD8 modification. Disruption of NEDD8 binding had no effect on ROC1 binding, nor did it affect nuclear localization of CUL1, suggesting that nuclear localization and NEDD8 modification of CUL1 are two separable steps, with nuclear import preceding and required for NEDD8 modification. Disrupting NEDD8 modification diminishes the IκBα ubiquitin ligase activity of CUL1. These results identify a pathway for regulation of CUL1 activity—ROC1 and the CUL1 C-terminal sequence collaboratively mediate nuclear accumulation and NEDD8 modification, facilitating assembly of active CUL1 ubiquitin ligase. This pathway may be commonly utilized for the assembly of other cullin ligases.
Post-translational protein modifications are systems designed to expand restricted genomic information through functional conversion of target molecules. Ubiquitin-like post-translational modifiers regulate numerous cellular events through their covalent linkages to target protein(s) by an enzymatic cascade analogous to ubiquitylation consisting of E1 (activating), E2 (conjugating) and E3 (ligating) enzymes. In this study, we report the essential role of Uba5, a specific activating enzyme for the ubiquitin-like modifier, Ufm1, in erythroid development. Mice lacking Uba5 exhibited severe anaemia, followed by death in utero. Although Uba5 was dispensable for the production of erythropoietin, its genetic loss led to impaired development of megakaryocyte and erythroid progenitors from common myeloid progenitors. Intriguingly, transgenic expression of Uba5 in the erythroid lineage rescued the Uba5-deficient embryos from anaemia and prolonged their survival, demonstrating the importance of Uba5 in cell-autonomous erythroid differentiation. Our results suggest that one of the ubiquitin-like protein modification systems, the Ufm1 system, is involved in the regulation of haematopoiesis.
Post-translational modifications are important in regulating protein function and turnover, and Ufm1 is part of a recently identified protein modification system. In this study, the authors show that Uba5, a component of the Ufm1 system, is important for regulating haematopoiesis and the differentiation of erythroid cells.
Ubiquitylation targets proteins for degradation by the 26S proteasome. Some yeast and plant ubiquitin ligases, including the highly conserved SCF (Skp1/Cul1/F-box protein) complex, have been shown to associate with proteasomes. We sought to characterize interactions between SCF complexes and proteasomes in mammalian cells.
We found that the binding of SCF complexes to proteasomes is conserved in higher eukaryotes. The Cul1 subunit associated with both sub-complexes of the proteasome, and high molecular weight forms of Cul1 bound to the 19S proteasome. Cul1 is ubiquitylated in vivo. Ubiquitylation of Cul1 promotes its binding to the S5a subunit of the 19S sub-complex without affecting Cul1 stability.
The association of ubiquitylating enzymes with proteasomes may be an additional means to target ubiquitylated substrates for degradation.
Poly-glutamine (polyQ) diseases are neurodegenerative disorders characterised by expanded CAG repeats in the causative genes whose proteins form inclusion bodies. Various E3 ubiquitin ligases are implicated in neurodegenerative disorders. We report that dysfunction of the SCF (Skp1-Cul1-F-box protein) complex, one of the most well-characterised ubiquitin ligases, is associated with pathology in polyQ diseases like Huntington's disease (HD) and Machado–Joseph disease (MJD). We found that Cullin1 (Cul1) and Skp1, core components of the SCF complex, are reduced in HD mice brain. A reduction in Cul1 levels was also observed in cellular HD model and fly models of both HD and MJD. We show that Cul1 is able to genetically modify mutant huntingtin aggregates because its silencing results in increased aggregate load in cultured cells. Moreover, we demonstrate that silencing dCul1 and dSkp1 in Drosophila results in increased aggregate load and enhanced polyQ-induced toxicity. Our results imply that reduced levels of SCF complex might contribute to polyQ disease pathology.
Cullin1; E3 ligase; Huntington's disease; neurodegeneration; SCF
Skp1 is involved in a variety of crucial cellular functions, among which the best understood is the formation together with Cul1 of Skp1-cullin-F-box protein ubiquitin ligases. To investigate the role of Skp1, we generated transgenic (Tg) mice expressing a Cul1 deletion mutant (Cul1-N252) able to sequestrate and inactivate Skp1. In vivo interference with Skp1 function through expression of the Cul1-N252 mutant into the T-cell lineage results in lymphoid organ hypoplasia and reduced proliferation. Nonetheless, after a period of latency, Cul1-N252 Tg mice succumb to T-cell lymphomas with high penetrance (>80%). Both T-cell depletion and the neoplastic phenotype of Cul1-N252 Tg mice are largely rescued in Cul1-N252, Skp1 double-Tg mice, indicating that the effects of Cul1-N252 are due to a sequestration of the endogenous Skp1. Analysis of Cul1-N252 lymphomas demonstrates striking karyotype heterogeneity associated with c-myc amplification and c-Myc overexpression. We show that the in vitro expression of the Cul1-N252 mutant causes a pleiotrophic phenotype, which includes the formation of multinucleated cells, centrosome and mitotic spindle abnormalities, and impaired chromosome segregation. Our findings support a crucial role for Skp1 in proper chromosomal segregation, which is required for the maintenance of euploidy and suppression of transformation.
The NEDD8-Cullin E3 ligase pathway plays an important role in protein homeostasis, in particular the degradation of cell cycle regulators and transcriptional control networks. To characterize NEDD8-cullin target proteins, we performed a quantitative proteomic analysis of cells treated with MLN4924, a small molecule inhibitor of the NEDD8 conjugation pathway. MRFAP1 and its interaction partner, MORF4L1, were among the most up-regulated proteins after NEDD8 inhibition in multiple human cell lines. We show that MRFAP1 has a fast turnover rate in the absence of MLN4924 and is degraded via the ubiquitin-proteasome system. The increased abundance of MRFAP1 after MLN4924 treatment results from a decreased rate of degradation. Characterization of the binding partners of both MRFAP1 and MORF4L1 revealed a complex protein-protein interaction network. MRFAP1 bound to a number of E3 ubiquitin ligases, including CUL4B, but not to components of the NuA4 complex, including MRGBP, which bound to MORF4L1. These data indicate that MRFAP1 may regulate the ability of MORF4L1 to interact with chromatin-modifying enzymes by binding to MORF4L1 in a mutually exclusive manner with MRGBP. Analysis of MRFAP1 expression in human tissues by immunostaining with a MRFAP1-specific antibody revealed that it was detectable in only a small number of tissues, in particular testis and brain. Strikingly, analysis of the seminiferous tubules of the testis showed the highest nuclear staining in the spermatogonia and much weaker staining in the spermatocytes and spermatids. MRGBP was inversely correlated with MRFAP1 expression in these cell types, consistent with an exchange of MORF4L1 interaction partners as cells progress through meiosis in the testis. These data highlight an important new arm of the NEDD8-cullin pathway.