Ubiquitin (E3) ligases interact with specific ubiquitin conjugating (E2) enzymes to ubiquitinate particular substrate proteins. As the combination of E2 and E3 dictates the type and biological consequence of ubiquitination, it is important to understand the basis of specificity in E2:E3 interactions. The E3 ligase CHIP interacts with Hsp70 and Hsp90 and ubiquitinates client proteins that are chaperoned by these heat shock proteins. CHIP interacts with two types of E2 enzymes, UbcH5 and Ubc13-Uev1a. It is unclear, however, why CHIP binds these E2 enzymes rather than others, and whether CHIP interacts preferentially with UbcH5 or Ubc13-Uev1a, which form different types of polyubiquitin chains.
The 2.9 Å crystal structure of the CHIP U-box domain complexed with UbcH5a shows that CHIP binds to UbcH5 and Ubc13 through similar specificity determinants, including a key S-P-A motif on the E2 enzymes. The determinants make different relative contributions to the overall interactions between CHIP and the two E2 enzymes. CHIP undergoes auto-ubiquitination by UbcH5 but not by Ubc13-Uev1a. Instead, CHIP drives the formation of unanchored polyubiquitin by Ubc13-Uev1a. CHIP also interacts productively with the class III E2 enzyme Ube2e2, in which the UbcH5- and Ubc13-binding specificity determinants are highly conserved.
The CHIP:UbcH5a structure emphasizes the importance of specificity determinants located on the long loops and central helix of the CHIP U-box, and on the N-terminal helix and loops L4 and L7 of its cognate E2 enzymes. The S-P-A motif and other specificity determinants define the set of cognate E2 enzymes for CHIP, which likely includes several Class III E2 enzymes. CHIP's interactions with UbcH5, Ube2e2 and Ubc13-Uev1a are consistent with the notion that Ubc13-Uev1a may work sequentially with other E2 enzymes to carry out K63-linked polyubiquitination of CHIP substrates.
Although the functional interaction between ubiquitin conjugating enzymes (E2s) and ubiquitin ligases (E3s) is essential in ubiquitin (Ub) signaling, the criteria that define an active E2–E3 pair are not well-established. The human E2 UbcH7 (Ube2L3) shows broad specificity for HECT-type E3s1, but often fails to function with RING E3s in vitro despite forming specific complexes2–4. Structural comparisons of inactive UbcH7/RING complexes with active UbcH5/RING complexes reveal no defining differences3,4, highlighting a gap in our understanding of Ub transfer. We show that, unlike many E2s that transfer Ub with RINGs, UbcH7 lacks intrinsic, E3-independent reactivity with lysine, explaining its preference for HECTs. Despite lacking lysine reactivity, UbcH7 exhibits activity with the RING-In Between-RING (RBR) family of E3s that includes Parkin and human homologue of ariadne (HHARI)5,6. Found in all eukaryotes7, RBRs regulate processes such as translation8 and immune signaling9. RBRs contain a canonical C3HC4-type RING, followed by two conserved Cys/His-rich Zn2+-binding domains, In-Between-RING (IBR) and RING2 domains, which together define this E3 family7. Here we show that RBRs function like RING/HECT hybrids: they bind E2s via a RING domain, but transfer Ub through an obligate thioester-linked Ub (denoted ‘~Ub’), requiring a conserved cysteine residue in RING2. Our results define the functional cadre of E3s for UbcH7, an E2 involved in cell proliferation10 and immune function11, and suggest a novel mechanism for an entire class of E3s.
An overabundance of UbcH10 disrupts mitotic checkpoint signaling as a result of a degradation of cyclin B, increasing spontaneous and carcinogen-induced tumor formation in transgenic mice.
The anaphase-promoting complex/cyclosome (APC/C) E3 ubiquitin ligase functions with the E2 ubiquitin–conjugating enzyme UbcH10 in the orderly progression through mitosis by marking key mitotic regulators for destruction by the 26-S proteasome. UbcH10 is overexpressed in many human cancer types and is associated with tumor progression. However, whether UbcH10 overexpression causes tumor formation is unknown. To address this central question and to define the molecular and cellular consequences of UbcH10 overexpression, we generated a series of transgenic mice in which UbcH10 was overexpressed in graded fashion. In this study, we show that UbcH10 overexpression leads to precocious degradation of cyclin B by the APC/C, supernumerary centrioles, lagging chromosomes, and aneuploidy. Importantly, we find that UbcH10 transgenic mice are prone to carcinogen-induced lung tumors and a broad spectrum of spontaneous tumors. Our results identify UbcH10 as a prominent protooncogene that causes whole chromosome instability and tumor formation over a wide gradient of overexpression levels.
In vitro, the Anaphase Promoting Complex (APC) E3 ligase functions with E2 ubiquitin conjugating enzymes of the E2–C and Ubc4/5 families to ubiquitinate substrates. However, only the use of the E2–C family, notably UbcH10, is genetically well validated. Here, we biochemically demonstrate preferential use of UbcH10 by the APC, specified by the E2 core domain. Importantly, an additional E2–E3 interaction mediated by the N-terminal extension of UbcH10 regulates APC activity. Mutating the highly conserved N-terminus increases substrate ubiquitination, the number of substrate lysines targeted, allows ubiquitination of APC substrates lacking their destruction-boxes, increases resistance to the APC inhibitors Emi1 and BubR1 in vitro, and bypasses the spindle checkpoint in vivo. Fusion of the UbcH10 N-terminus to UbcH5 restricts ubiquitination activity, but does not direct specific interactions with the APC. Thus, UbcH10 combines a specific E2–E3 interface and regulation via its N-terminal extension to limit APC activity for substrate selection and checkpoint control.
Mitosis; Emi1; Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases; UbcH10; Anaphase Promoting Complex; Spindle Assembly Checkpoint
Ubiquitin modification is mediated by a large family of specificity determining ubiquitin E3 ligases. To facilitate ubiquitin transfer, RING E3 ligases bind both substrate and a ubiquitin E2 conjugating enzyme linked to ubiquitin via a thioester bond, but the mechanism of transfer has remained elusive. Here we report the crystal structure of the dimeric RING of RNF4 in complex with E2 (UbcH5a) linked by an isopeptide bond to ubiquitin. While the E2 contacts a single protomer of the RING, ubiquitin is folded back onto the E2 by contacts from both RING protomers. The C-terminal tail of ubiquitin is locked into an active site groove on the E2 by an intricate network of interactions, resulting in changes at the E2 active site. This arrangement is primed for catalysis as it can deprotonate the incoming substrate lysine residue and stabilise the consequent tetrahedral transition state intermediate.
In E1-E2-E3 ubiquitin (Ub) conjugation cascades, the E2 first forms a transient E2~Ub covalent complex, and then interacts with an E3 for Ub transfer. For cascades involving E3s in the HECT class, Ub is transferred from an associated E2 to the acceptor Cys in the HECT domain C-lobe. To gain insights into this process, we determined the crystal structure of a complex between the HECT domain of NEDD4L and the E2 UbcH5B bearing a covalently-linked Ub at its active site (UbcH5B~Ub). Noncovalent interactions between UbcH5B and the HECT N-lobe and between Ub and the HECT domain C-lobe lead to an overall compact structure, with the Ub C-terminus sandwiched between UbcH5B and HECT domain active sites. The structure suggests a model for E2-to-HECT Ub transfer, in which interactions between a donor Ub and an acceptor domain constrain upstream and downstream enzymes for conjugation.
Ubiquitin; HECT; E3; Ubiquitin ligase; UbcH5B; NEDD4L; NEDD4-2
In mitosis, the anaphase-promoting complex (APC) regulates the onset of sister-chromatid separation and exit from mitosis by mediating the ubiquitination and degradation of the securin protein and mitotic cyclins. With the use of a baculoviral expression system, we have reconstituted the ubiquitin ligase activity of human APC. In combination with Ubc4 or UbcH10, a heterodimeric complex of APC2 and APC11 is sufficient to catalyze the ubiquitination of human securin and cyclin B1. However, the minimal APC2/11 ubiquitin ligase module does not possess substrate specificity, because it also ubiquitinates the destruction box deletion mutants of securin and cyclin B1. Both APC11 and UbcH10 bind to the C-terminal cullin homology domain of APC2, whereas Ubc4 interacts with APC11 directly. Zn2+-binding and mutagenesis experiments indicate that APC11 binds Zn2+ at a 1:3 M ratio. Unlike the two Zn2+ ions of the canonical RING-finger motif, the third Zn2+ ion of APC11 is not essential for its ligase activity. Surprisingly, with Ubc4 as the E2 enzyme, Zn2+ ions alone are sufficient to catalyze the ubiquitination of cyclin B1. Therefore, the Zn2+ ions of the RING finger family of ubiquitin ligases may be directly involved in catalysis.
Human ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme E2, also known as UbcH10, is defined as a cyclin-selective ubiquitin carrier protein and is essential for selective degradation of many short-lived proteins in eukaryotic cells. Recently more and more data show that UbcH10 could be a potential cancer biomarker. In this study, we have developed a monoclonal antibody (MAb) against UbcH10 using an expression recombinant protein. Hybridomas F001, F007, and F008 with high affinities belong to IgG1 subclass with κ light and are highly specific for UbcH10. Further experimentation showed that MAbs F001, F007, and F008 are suitable for the development of immunoassay core agents with sufficient sensitivity and specificity in vitro by Western-blot, immunofluorescence, and immunohistochemistry. These MAbs can be used as a tool for further investigation on functions related to the role of UbcH10 in tumorigenesis and development.
Ubiquitination of proteins provides a powerful and versatile post-translational signal in the eukaryotic cell. The formation of a thioester bond between ubiquitin (Ub) and the active site of a ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme (E2) is critical for Ub transfer to substrates. Assembly of a functional ubiquitin ligase (E3) complex poised for Ub transfer involves recognition and binding of an E2~Ub conjugate. Therefore, full characterization of the structure and dynamics of E2~Ub conjugates is required for further mechanistic understanding of Ub transfer reactions. Here we present characterization of the dynamic behavior of E2~Ub conjugates of two human enzymes, UbcH5c~Ub and Ubc13~Ub, in solution as determined by NMR and SAXS. Within each conjugate, Ub retains great flexibility with respect to the E2, indicative of highly dynamic species that adopt manifold orientations. The population distribution of Ub conformations is dictated by the identity of the E2: UbcH5c~Ub populates an array of extended conformations and the population of Ubc13~Ub conjugates favors a closed conformation in which the hydrophobic surface of Ub faces Helix 2 of Ubc13. We propose that the varied conformations adopted by Ub represent available binding modes of the E2~Ub species and thus provide insight into the diverse E2~Ub protein interactome, particularly regarding interaction with Ub ligases.
ubiquitin; ubiquitin conjugating enzyme; ubiquitination; UbcH5; Ubc13; NMR; spin label; SAXS
The RAG1 recombinase, which participates in DNA manipulation during rearrangement of antigen receptor genes in developing immune cells, possesses ubiquitin ligase activity. The nuclear transport protein karyopherin alpha 1 (KPNA1) binds to RAG1 upstream of its ubiquitin ligase domain, but this interaction is not required for nuclear localization of RAG1. We found that the isolated ubiquitin ligase domain of RAG1 (amino acids 218-389) promoted ubiquitylation of purified KPNA1. While RAG1 auto-ubiquitylation is dependent on the ubiquitin conjugating enzyme CDC34, ubiquitylation of KPNA1 was best supported by UbcH2/Rad6 and UbcH5a. Ubiquitylation of KPNA1 required the lysine/arginine-rich region spanning RAG1 amino acids 218-263 upstream of the RAG1 ubiquitin ligase domain, but RAG1 was still able to undergo auto-ubiquitylation in this region even in the presence of KPNA1. This is the first putative substrate identified for the RAG1 ubiquitin ligase, and to our knowledge it is the first reported case of ubiquitylation of KPNA1.
The viral ubiquitin ligase ICP0 is required for efficient initiation of herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) lytic infection and productive reactivation of viral genomes from latency. ICP0 has been shown to target a number of specific cellular proteins for proteasome-dependent degradation during lytic infection, including the promyelocytic leukemia protein (PML) and its small ubiquitin-like modified (SUMO) isoforms. We have shown previously that ICP0 can catalyze the formation of unanchored polyubiquitin chains and mediate the ubiquitination of specific substrate proteins in vitro in the presence of two E2 ubiquitin-conjugating enzymes, namely, UBE2D1 (UbcH5a) and UBE2E1 (UbcH6), in a RING finger-dependent manner. Using homology modeling in conjunction with site-directed mutagenesis, we identify specific residues required for the interaction between the RING finger domain of ICP0 and UBE2D1, and we report that point mutations at these residues compromise the ability of ICP0 to induce the colocalization of conjugated ubiquitin and the degradation of PML and its SUMO-modified isoforms. Furthermore, we show that RING finger mutants that are unable to interact with UBE2D1 fail not only to complement the plaque-forming defect of an ICP0-null mutant virus but also to mediate the derepression of quiescent HSV-1 genomes in cell culture. These data demonstrate that the ability of ICP0 to interact with cellular E2 ubiquitin-conjugating enzymes is fundamentally important for its biological functions during HSV-1 infection.
Events within and transitions between the phases of the eukaryotic cell cycle are tightly controlled by transcriptional and post-translational processes. Prominent among them is a profound role for the ubiquitin proteasome proteolytic pathway. The timely degradation of proteins balances the increases in gene products dictated by changes in transcription. Of the dozens of ubiquitin conjugating enzymes, or E2s, functions in control of the cell cycle have been defined for only UbcH10 and Ubc3/Cdc34. Each of these E2s works primarily with one ubiquitin ligase or E3. Here we show that another E2, UbcH7 is a regulator of S phase of the cell cycle. Over-expression of UbcH7 delays entry into S phase whereas depletion of UbcH7 increases the length of S phase and decreases cell proliferation. Additionally, the level of the checkpoint kinase Chk1 increases upon UbcH7 depletion while the level of phosphorylated PTEN decreases. Taken together, these data indicate that the length of S phase is controlled in part by UbcH7 through a PTEN/Akt/Chk1 pathway. Potential mechanisms by which UbcH7 controls Chk1 levels both directly and indirectly, as well as the length of S phase are discussed and additional functions for UbcH7 are reviewed.
Interferon (IFN)-stimulated gene 15 (ISG15) is a ubiquitin-like molecule that conjugates to target proteins via a C-terminal LRLRGG motif and has antiviral function in vivo. We used structural modeling to predict human ISG15 (hISG15) residues important for interacting with its E1 enzyme, UbE1L. Kinetic analysis revealed that mutation of arginine 153 to alanine (R153A) ablated hISG15-hUbE1L binding and transthiolation of UbcH8. Mutation of other predicted UbE1L-interacting residues had minimal effects on the transfer of ISG15 from UbE1L to UbcH8. The capacity of hISG15 R153A to form protein conjugates in 293T cells was markedly diminished. Mutation of the homologous residue in mouse ISG15 (mISG15), arginine 151, to alanine (R151A) also attenuated protein ISGylation following transfection into 293T cells. We assessed the role of ISG15-UbE1L interactions in control of virus infection by constructing double subgenomic Sindbis viruses that expressed the mISG15 R151A mutant. While expression of mISG15 protected alpha/beta-IFN-receptor-deficient (IFN-αβR−/−) mice from lethality following Sindbis virus infection, expression of mISG15 R151A conferred no survival benefit. The R151A mutation also attenuated ISG15's ability to decrease Sindbis virus replication in IFN-αβR−/− mice or prolong survival of ISG15−/− mice. The importance of UbE1L was confirmed by demonstrating that mice lacking this ISG15 E1 enzyme were highly susceptible to Sindbis virus infection. Together, these data support a role for protein conjugation in the antiviral effects of ISG15.
Ubiquitin is a small polypeptide that is conjugated to proteins and commonly serves as a degradation signal. The attachment of ubiquitin (Ub) to a substrate proceeds through a multi-enzyme cascade involving an activating enzyme (E1), a conjugating enzyme (E2), and a protein ligase (E3). We previously demonstrated that a murine E2, UbcM2, is imported into nuclei by the transport receptor importin-11. We now show that the import mechanism for UbcM2 and two other human class III E2s (UbcH6 and UBE2E2) uniquely requires the covalent attachment of Ub to the active site cysteine of these enzymes. This coupling of E2 activation and transport arises from the selective interaction of importin-11 with the Ub-loaded forms of these enzymes. Together, these findings reveal that Ub charging can function as a nuclear import trigger, and identify a novel link between E2 regulation and karyopherin-mediated transport.
The crystal structure of human UBE2G2/UBC7 was solved at 2.56 Å resolution. The superimposition of UBE2G2 on UbcH7 in a c-Cbl–UbcH7–ZAP70 ternary complex suggested that the two loop regions of UBE2G2 interact with the RING domain in a similar way as UbcH7.
The human ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme E2 G2 (UBE2G2/UBC7) is involved in protein degradation, including a process known as endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation (ERAD). The crystal structure of human UBE2G2/UBC7 was solved at 2.56 Å resolution. The UBE2G2 structure comprises a single domain consisting of an antiparallel β-sheet with four strands, five α-helices and two 310-helices. Structural comparison of human UBE2G2 with yeast Ubc7 indicated that the overall structures are similar except for the long loop region and the C-terminal helix. Superimposition of UBE2G2 on UbcH7 in a c-Cbl–UbcH7–ZAP70 ternary complex suggested that the two loop regions of UBE2G2 interact with the RING domain in a similar way to UbcH7. In addition, the extra loop region of UBE2G2 may interact with the RING domain or its neighbouring region and may be involved in the binding specificity and stability.
ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme; UBE2G2/UBC7; ubiquitin-dependent protein degradation; endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation; Parkin
Mammalian RNF4 is a dimeric RING ubiquitin E3 ligase that ubiquitylates poly-SUMOylated proteins. We found that RNF4 bound ubiquitin-charged UbcH5a tightly but free UbcH5a weakly. To provide insight into the mechanism of RING-mediated ubiquitylation we docked the UbcH5~ubiquitin thioester onto the RNF4 RING structure. This revealed that with E2 bound to one monomer of RNF4, the thioester-linked ubiquitin could reach across the dimer to engage the other monomer. In this model the “Ile44 hydrophobic patch” of ubiquitin is predicted to engage a conserved tyrosine located at the dimer interface of the RING and mutation of these residues blocked ubiquitylation activity. Thus, dimeric RING ligases are not simply inert scaffolds that bring substrate and E2-loaded ubiquitin into close proximity. Instead, they facilitate ubiquitin transfer by preferentially binding the E2~ubiquitin thioester across the dimer and activating the thioester bond for catalysis.
Protein ISGylation is unique among ubiquitin-like conjugation systems in that the expression and conjugation processes are induced by specific stimuli, mainly via the alpha/beta interferon signaling pathway. It has been suggested that protein ISGylation plays a special role in the immune response, because of its interferon-signal dependency and its appearance only in higher eukaryotic organisms. Here, we report the identification of an ISG15-conjugating enzyme, Ubc8. Like other components of the protein ISGylation system (ISG15, UBE1L, and UBP43), Ubc8 is an interferon-inducible protein. Ubc8 clearly mediates protein ISGylation in transfection assays. The reduction of Ubc8 expression by small interfering RNA causes a decrease in protein ISGylation in HeLa cells upon interferon treatment. Neither UbcH7/UbcM4, the closest homologue of Ubc8 among known ubiquitin E2s, nor the small ubiquitin-like modifier E2 Ubc9 supports protein ISGylation. These findings strongly suggest that Ubc8 is a major ISG15-conjugating enzyme responsible for protein ISGylation upon interferon stimulation. Furthermore, we established an assay system to detect ISGylated target proteins by cotransfection of ISG15, UBE1L, and Ubc8 together with a target protein to be analyzed. This method provides an easy and effective way to identify new targets for the ISGylation system and will facilitate related studies.
RING (really interesting new gene)-H2 domain-containing proteins are widely represented in plants and play important roles in the regulation of many developmental processes as well as in plant–environment interactions. In the present report, experiments were performed to unravel the role of the poplar gene PtaRHE1, coding for a RING-H2 protein. In vitro ubiquitination assays indicate a functional E3 ligase activity for PtaRHE1 with the specific E2 ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme UbcH5a. The overexpression of PtaRHE1 in tobacco resulted in a pleiotropic phenotype characterized by a curling of the leaves, the formation of necrotic lesions on leaf blades, growth retardation, and a delay in floral transition. The plant gene expression response to PtaRHE1 overexpression provided evidence for the up-regulation of defence- and/or programmed cell death-related genes. Moreover, genes coding for WRKY transcription factors as well as for mitogen-activated protein kinases, such as wound-induced protein kinase (WIPK), were also found to be induced in the transgenic lines as compared with the wild type. In addition, histochemical β-glucuronidase staining showed that the PtaRHE1 promoter is induced by plant pathogens and by elicitors such as salicylic acid and cellulase. Taken together, these results suggest that the E3 ligase PtaRHE1 plays a role in the ubiquitination-mediated regulation of defence response, possibly by acting upstream of WIPK and/or in the activation of WRKY factors.
Defence response; E3 ligase; Nicotiana tabacum; Populus tremula×P. alba; RING-H2
Human E4B, also called UFD2a, is a U-box-containing protein that functions as an E3 ubiquitin ligase and an E4 polyubiquitin chain elongation factor. E4B is thought to participate in the proteasomal degradation of misfolded or damaged proteins through association with chaperones. The U-box domain is an anchor site for E2 ubiquitin-conjugating enzymes but little is known of the binding mechanism. Using X-ray crystallography and NMR spectroscopy, we determined the structures of E4B U-box free and bound to UbcH5c and Ubc4 E2s. While previously characterized U-box domains are homodimeric, we show that E4B U-box is a monomer stabilized by a network of hydrogen bonds identified from scalar coupling measurements. These structural studies, complemented by calorimetry- and NMR-based binding assays, suggest an allosteric regulation of UbcH5c and Ubc4 by E4B U-Box and provide a molecular basis to understand how the ubiquitylation machinery involving E4B assembles.
The E3 ubiquitin protein ligase Casitas B-lineage Lymphoma (Cbl) proteins and their binding partners play an important role in regulating signal transduction pathways. It is important to utilize regulators to study the protein-protein interactions (PPIs) between these proteins. However, finding specific small-molecule regulators of PPIs remains a significant challenge due to the fact that the interfaces involved in PPIs are not well suited for effective small molecule binding. We report the development of a competitive, homogeneous, high-throughput fluorescence polarization (FP) assay to identify small molecule regulators of Cbl (RING) domain. The FP assay was used to measure binding affinities and inhibition constants of UbCH7 peptides and small molecule regulators of Cbl (RING) domains, respectively. In order to rule out promiscuous, aggregation-based inhibition, two assay conditions were developed and compared side by side. Under optimized conditions, we screened a 10,000 natural compound library in detergent-free and detergent-present (0.01% Triton X-100) systems. The results indicate that the detergent-present system is more suitable for high-throughput screens. Three potential compounds, methylprotodioscin, leonuride and catalpol, have been identified that bind to Cbl (RING) domain and interfere with the Cbl (RING)-UbCH7 protein-protein interaction.
CRL4Cdt2 is a cullin-based E3 ubiquitin ligase that promotes the ubiquitin-dependent proteolysis of various substrates implicated in the control of cell cycle and various DNA metabolic processes such as DNA replication and repair. Substrates for CRL4Cdt2 E3 ubiquitin ligase include the replication licensing factor Cdt1 and the cyclin-dependent kinase (Cdk) inhibitor p21. Inhibition of this E3 ligase leads to serious abnormalities of the cell cycle and cell death. The ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme (UBC) involved in this important pathway, however, remains unknown. By a proteomic analysis of Cdt2-associated proteins and an RNA interference-based screening approach, we show that CRL4Cdt2 utilizes two different UBCs to target different substrates. UBCH8, a member of the UBE2E family of UBCs, ubiquitylates and promotes the degradation of p21, both during the normal cell cycle and in UV-irradiated cells. Importantly, depletion of UBCH8 by small interfering RNA (siRNA) increases p21 protein level, delays entry into S phase of the cell cycle, and suppresses the DNA damage response after UV irradiation. On the other hand, members of the UBE2G family of UBCs (UBE2G1 and UBE2G2) cooperate with CRL4Cdt2 to polyubiquitylate and degrade Cdt1 postradiation, an activity that is critical for preventing origin licensing in DNA-damaged cells. Finally, we show that UBCH8, but not UBE2G1 or UBE2G2, is required for CRL4Cdt2-mediated ubiquitylation and degradation of the histone H4 lysine 20 monomethyltransferase Set8, a previously identified CRL4Cdt2 substrate, as well as for CRL4Cdt2-dependent monoubiquitylation of PCNA in unstressed cells. These findings identify the UBCs required for the activity of CRL4Cdt2 on multiple substrates and demonstrate that different UBCs are involved in the selective ubiquitylation of different substrates by the same E3 complex.
A distinctive mechanism for ubiquitin (Ub) ligation has recently been proposed for the RING1-IBR-RING2 (RBR) family of E3s: an N-terminal RING1 domain recruits a thioester-linked intermediate complex between Ub and the E2 UbcH7, and a structurally unique C-terminal RING2 domain displays a catalytic cysteine required for Ub ligation. To obtain insights into RBR E3s, we determined the crystal structure of the Human Homolog of Ariadne (HHARI), which reveals the individual RING1, IBR, and RING2 domains embedded in superdomains involving sequences specific to the Ariadne RBR subfamily. The central IBR is flanked on one side by RING1, which is exposed and binds UbcH7. On the other side, a C-terminal autoinhibitory “Ariadne domain” masks the RING2 active site. Insights into RBR E3 mechanisms are provided by structure-based mutations that indicate distinct steps of relief from autoinhibition, Ub transfer from E2 to HHARI, and ligation from the HHARI cysteine to a terminal acceptor.
Recurrent infections with high-risk human papillomaviruses (HPVs) are associated with human cervical cancers. All HPV-associated cancer tissues express the viral oncoproteins E6 and E7, which stimulate cell growth. The expression of E7 is crucial for both the initiation and the maintenance of HPV-associated cancer. Recent studies showed that the level of E7 in cancer cells is regulated by ubiquitin-dependent proteolysis through the 26S proteasome. In this study, we characterized the enzymes involved in the ubiquitin-dependent proteolysis of E7. We show that UbcH7, an E2 ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme, is specifically involved in the ubiquitination of E7. Furthermore, we show that E7 interacts with the SCF (Skp-Cullin-F box) ubiquitin ligase complex containing Cullin 1 (Cul1) and Skp2 and can be ubiquitinated by the Cul1-containing ubiquitin ligase in vitro. Coimmunoprecipitation analyses revealed that E7 interacts with Skp2 and Cul1 in vivo. Finally, the half-life of E7 was found to be significantly longer in Skp2−/− mouse embryo fibroblasts (MEFs) than in wild-type MEFs. Taken together, these results suggest that the Cul1- and Skp2-containing ubiquitin ligase plays a role in the ubiquitination and proteolysis of E7. In HPV type 16-containing cervical carcinoma cell line Caski, E7 localizes to both the cytoplasm and the nucleus. Brief treatment of Caski cells with MG132 (a proteasome inhibitor) causes the accumulation of E7 in discrete nuclear bodies. These nuclear bodies are detergent insoluble and contain polyubiquitinated E7. We suggest that E7 relocates to specific nuclear bodies for proteolysis in HPV-containing epithelial cells.
We describe a mechanistic model of polyubiquitination by the SCFβTrCP2 E3 ubiquitin (Ub) ligase using human IκBα as a substrate. Biochemical reconstitution experiments revealed that the polyubiquitination of IκBα began with the action of the UbcH5 E2 Ub conjugating enzyme, transferring a single Ub to IκBα K21/K22 rapidly and efficiently. Subsequently, the Cdc34 E2 functioned in the formation of polyubiquitin chains. It was determined that an Ub fused at IκBα K21 acts as a receptor, directing Cdc34 for rapid and efficient K48-linked Ub chain synthesis that depends on SCFβTrCP2 and the substrate’s N terminus. The IκBα-linked fusion Ub appears to mediate direct contacts with Cdc34 and the SCF’s RING sub-complex. Taken together, these results suggest a role for the multifaceted interactions between the IκBα K21/K22-linked receptor Ub, the SCF’s RING complex, and Cdc34~S~Ub in establishing the optimal orientation of the receptor Ub to drive conjugation.
We investigated the role of the ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme UBCH7 in nuclear receptor transactivation. Using transient transfection assays, we demonstrated that UBCH7 modulates the transcriptional activity of progesterone receptor (PR) and glucocorticoid, androgen, and retinoic acid receptors in a hormone-dependent manner and that the ubiquitin conjugation activity of UBCH7 is required for its ability to potentiate transactivation by steroid hormone receptors (SHR). However, UBCH7 showed no significant effect on the transactivation functions of p53 and VP-16 activation domain. Depletion of endogenous UBCH7 protein by small interfering RNAs suggests that UBCH7 is required for the proper function of SHR. Furthermore, a chromatin immunoprecipitation assay demonstrated the hormone-dependent recruitment of UBCH7 onto estrogen receptor- and PR-responsive promoters. Additionally, we show that UBCH7 and E6-associated protein (E6-AP) synergistically enhance PR transactivation. We also demonstrate that UBCH7 interacts with steroid receptor coactivator 1 (SRC-1) and that UBCH7 coactivation function is dependent on SRC-1. Taken together, our results reveal the possible role of UBCH7 in steroid receptor transactivation and provide insights into the mechanism of action of UBCH7 in receptor function.