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1.  Interactions between the quality control ubiquitin ligase CHIP and ubiquitin conjugating enzymes 
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.
PMCID: PMC2396629  PMID: 18485199
2.  RING-H2 Protein WSSV249 from White Spot Syndrome Virus Sequesters a Shrimp Ubiquitin-Conjugating Enzyme, PvUbc, for Viral Pathogenesis 
Journal of Virology  2005;79(14):8764-8772.
Modification of proteins by ubiquitin is essential for numerous cellular processes. The RING-H2 finger motif has been implicated in ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme (E2)-dependent ubiquitination. Four proteins, WSSV199, WSSV222, WSSV249, and WSSV403, from white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) contain the RING-H2 motif. Here we report that WSSV249 physically interacts with a shrimp ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme, PvUbc, and mediates ubiquitination through its RING-H2 motif in the presence of E1 and PvUbc. Mutations of the putative zinc coordination residues in the RING-H2 domain of WSSV249, however, ablate ubiquitination efficiency. In addition, the RING-H2 domain of WSSV249 is capable of ubiquitination with UbcH1, UbcH2, UbcH5a, UbcH5b, UbcH5c, UbcH6, and UbcH10, respectively, exhibiting a low degree of E2 specificity. Significantly, the expression of WSSV249 and PvUbc increased during infection, as revealed by real-time PCR. Furthermore, in situ hybridization showed that WSSV249 and PvUbc display similar expression patterns in infected shrimps, and immunofluorescence and immunohistochemistry assays showed an increase of PvUbc in infected shrimp cells. These results suggest that the RING-H2 protein WSSV249 from WSSV may function as an E3 ligase via sequestration of PvUbc for viral pathogenesis in shrimp.
PMCID: PMC1168725  PMID: 15994770
3.  The Unique N-terminus of the UbcH10 E2 Enzyme Controls the Threshold for APC Activation and Enhances Checkpoint Regulation of the APC 
Molecular cell  2008;31(4):544.
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.
PMCID: PMC2813190  PMID: 18722180
Mitosis; Emi1; Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases; UbcH10; Anaphase Promoting Complex; Spindle Assembly Checkpoint
4.  UbcH7 reactivity profile reveals Parkin and HHARI to be RING/HECT hybrids 
Nature  2011;474(7349):105-108.
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.
PMCID: PMC3444301  PMID: 21532592
5.  Structure of human ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme E2 G2 (UBE2G2/UBC7) 
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.
PMCID: PMC2222581  PMID: 16582478
ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme; UBE2G2/UBC7; ubiquitin-dependent protein degradation; endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation; Parkin
6.  Complex Structure of OspI and Ubc13: The Molecular Basis of Ubc13 Deamidation and Convergence of Bacterial and Host E2 Recognition 
PLoS Pathogens  2013;9(4):e1003322.
Ubc13 is an important ubiquitin-conjugating (E2) enzyme in the NF-κB signaling pathway. The Shigella effector OspI targets Ubc13 and deamidates Gln100 of Ubc13 to a glutamic acid residue, leading to the inhibition of host inflammatory responses. Here we report the crystal structure of the OspI-Ubc13 complex at 2.3 Å resolution. The structure reveals that OspI uses two differently charged regions to extensively interact with the α1 helix, L1 loop and L2 loop of Ubc13. The Gln100 residue is bound within the hydrophilic catalytic pocket of OspI. A comparison between Ubc13-bound and wild-type free OspI structures revealed that Ubc13 binding induces notable structural reassembly of the catalytic pocket, suggesting that substrate binding might be involved in the catalysis of OspI. The OspI-binding sites in Ubc13 largely overlap with the binding residues for host ubiquitin E3 ligases and a deubiquitinating enzyme, which suggests that the bacterial effector and host proteins exploit the same surface on Ubc13 for specific recognition. Biochemical results indicate that both of the differently charged regions in OspI are important for the interaction with Ubc13, and the specificity determinants in Ubc13 for OspI recognition reside in the distinct residues in the α1 helix and L2 region. Our study reveals the molecular basis of Ubc13 deamidation by OspI, as well as a convergence of E2 recognition by bacterial and host proteins.
Author Summary
The Gram-negative pathogenic bacterium Shigella infects human intestinal epithelium cells and causes severe inflammatory colitis (bacillary dysentery). Shigella harbors an approximately 220-kb virulence plasmid that encodes a type III secretion system (T3SS) protein secretion apparatus and many effector proteins. Using the T3SS, Shigella delivers the effector proteins into the host cells, targeting key signal molecules and manipulating the host physiological processes and thereby promoting infection and multiplication. OspI, a newly identified Shigella effector, targets the host Ubc13 protein, a critical ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme in the NF-κB signaling pathway. OspI deamidates Gln100 of Ubc13 to a glutamic acid residue, thereby disrupting TRAF6-catalyzed polyubiquitination and dampening host inflammatory responses. However, the structural mechanism of this specific deamidation is unclear. Through crystallography, we have determined the structure of the OspI-Ubc13 complex. The structure illustrates how OspI interacts with Ubc13 and how Ubc13 induces conformational changes in OspI. Combining structural analysis and biochemical assays, we revealed how OspI distinguishes Ubc13 from other ubiquitin conjugating enzymes and found that OspI binds to the same surface region on Ubc13 as host TRAF6, CHIP and OTUB1. Our study sheds light on the molecular mechanism of Ubc13 deamidation by OspI and provides new insights into E2 recognition by bacterial and host proteins.
PMCID: PMC3636029  PMID: 23633953
7.  Insights into ubiquitin transfer cascades from a structure of a UbcH5B~Ubiquitin-HECTNEDD4L complex 
Molecular cell  2009;36(6):1095-1102.
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.
PMCID: PMC2859195  PMID: 20064473
Ubiquitin; HECT; E3; Ubiquitin ligase; UbcH5B; NEDD4L; NEDD4-2
8.  Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 Immediate-Early Protein ICP0 and Its Isolated RING Finger Domain Act as Ubiquitin E3 Ligases In Vitro 
Journal of Virology  2002;76(2):841-850.
Proteasome-dependent degradation of ubiquitinated proteins plays a key role in many important cellular processes. Ubiquitination requires the E1 ubiquitin activating enzyme, an E2 ubiquitin conjugating enzyme, and frequently a substrate-specific ubiquitin protein ligase (E3). One class of E3 ubiquitin ligases has been shown to contain a common zinc-binding RING finger motif. We have previously shown that herpes simplex virus type 1 ICP0, itself a RING finger protein, induces the proteasome-dependent degradation of several cellular proteins and induces the accumulation of colocalizing conjugated ubiquitin in vivo. We now report that both full-length ICP0 and its isolated RING finger domain induce the accumulation of polyubiquitin chains in vitro in the presence of E1 and the E2 enzymes UbcH5a and UbcH6. Mutations within the RING finger region that abolish the in vitro ubiquitination activity also cause severe reductions in ICP0 activity in other assays. We conclude that ICP0 has the potential to act as an E3 ubiquitin ligase during viral infection and to target specific cellular proteins for destruction by the 26S proteasome.
PMCID: PMC136846  PMID: 11752173
9.  Functional Characterization of Residues Required for the Herpes Simplex Virus 1 E3 Ubiquitin Ligase ICP0 To Interact with the Cellular E2 Ubiquitin-Conjugating Enzyme UBE2D1 (UbcH5a) 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(11):6323-6333.
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.
PMCID: PMC3372195  PMID: 22438555
10.  Differential regulation of RNF8-mediated Lys48- and Lys63-based poly-ubiquitylation 
Nucleic Acids Research  2011;40(1):196-205.
Pairing of a given E3 ubiquitin ligase with different E2s allows synthesis of ubiquitin conjugates of different topologies. While this phenomenon contributes to functional diversity, it remains largely unknown how a single E3 ubiquitin ligase recognizes multiple E2s, and whether identical structural requirements determine their respective interactions. The E3 ubiquitin ligase RNF8 that plays a critically important role in transducing DNA damage signals, interacts with E2s UBCH8 and UBC13, and catalyzes both K48- and K63-linked ubiquitin chains. Interestingly, we report here that a single-point mutation (I405A) on the RNF8 polypeptide uncouples its ability in catalyzing K48- and K63-linked ubiquitin chain formation. Accordingly, while RNF8 interacted with E2s UBCH8 and UBC13, its I405A mutation selectively disrupted its functional interaction with UBCH8, and impaired K48-based poly-ubiquitylation reactions. In contrast, RNF8 I405A preserved its interaction with UBC13, synthesized K63-linked ubiquitin chains, and assembled BRCA1 and 53BP1 at sites of DNA breaks. Together, our data suggest that RNF8 regulates K48- and K63-linked poly-ubiquitylation via differential RING-dependent interactions with its E2s UBCH8 and UBC13, respectively.
PMCID: PMC3245915  PMID: 21911360
11.  Ubiquitin in Motion: Structural studies of the E2~Ub conjugate 
Biochemistry  2011;50(10):1624-1633.
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.
PMCID: PMC3056393  PMID: 21226485
ubiquitin; ubiquitin conjugating enzyme; ubiquitination; UbcH5; Ubc13; NMR; spin label; SAXS
12.  The Stability of Herpes Simplex Virus 1 ICP0 Early after Infection Is Defined by the RING Finger and the UL13 Protein Kinase 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(10):5437-5443.
Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1)-infected cell protein 0 (ICP0) is a multifunctional protein that plays a key role in overcoming numerous facets of host innate immunity. A key function of ICP0 that requires an intact RING finger domain is that of an ubiquitin E3 ligase: ICP0 interacts with at least three ubiquitin-conjugating enzymes of which one, UbcH5a, is required for degradation of PML and SP100. A preceding report showed that ICP0 is highly unstable at very early times after infection but becomes stable at later times. We report here that (i) the degradation of ICP0 is not infected cell specific, (ii) the degradation does not require the interaction of ICP0 with either UbcH5a, UbcH6, or UbcH9, (iii) ICP0 is degraded both early and late in cells infected with a mutant lacking the UL13 protein kinase, (iv) ICP0 encoded by wild-type virus or the ΔUL13 mutant is stable in cells transfected with a plasmid encoding UL13 before infection, (v) ICP0 carrying mutations in the RING finger domain is stable both early and late in infection, and, finally, (vi) in cells infected with both wild type and RING finger mutant only the wild-type ICP0 is rapidly degraded at early times. The results suggest that the stability of ICP0 is mediated by the UL13 protein kinase and that the target of proteolysis is a site at or near the RING domain of ICP0.
IMPORTANCE ICP0, a major regulatory protein of HSV-1, turns over rapidly early in infection but becomes stable at late times. We report that stabilization requires the presence of UL13 protein kinase and that an ICP0 with mutations in RING finger is stable. In mixed infections mutant ICP0 is stable, whereas the wild-type ICP0 is degraded. Our findings suggest that the lifestyle of HSV-1 requires an ICP0 that turns over rapidly if late proteins are absent.
PMCID: PMC4019132  PMID: 24574411
13.  Structure of BIRC7–E2 ubiquitin conjugate reveals the mechanism of ubiquitin transfer by a RING dimer 
Nature structural & molecular biology  2012;19(9):10.1038/nsmb.2379.
RING ubiquitin ligases (E3s) recruit E2 thioesterified with Ub to facilitate Ub transfer to a target. Certain RING E3s dimerize to form active ligases but structural evidence on how this process promotes Ub transfer is lacking. Several members of the baculovirus inhibitor of apoptosis repeat-containing (BIRC) family of proteins function as dimeric RING E3s in the regulation of cell death. Here we report the structure of the human dimeric RING domain from BIRC7 in complex with the E2 UbcH5B covalently linked to Ub at its active site (UbcH5B~Ub). In addition to the known E2–RING contacts, the structure reveals extensive non-covalent donor Ub interactions with UbcH5B and both subunits of the RING domain dimer. Mutations that disrupt these non-covalent interactions or RING dimerization reduce UbcH5B~Ub binding affinity and ubiquitination activity. Moreover, NMR analyses demonstrate that BIRC7 binding to UbcH5B~Ub induces peak shift perturbations in the donor Ub consistent with the crystallographically-observed BIRC7–Ub interactions. Our results provide structural insights into how dimeric RING E3s recruit E2~Ub and optimize the donor Ub configuration for transfer.
PMCID: PMC3880866  PMID: 22902369
Inhibitor of apoptosis; BIRC7; E3; E2 ubiquitin conjugate; RING dimerization
14.  Structural Model of the hUbA1-UbcH10 Quaternary Complex: In Silico and Experimental Analysis of the Protein-Protein Interactions between E1, E2 and Ubiquitin 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e112082.
UbcH10 is a component of the Ubiquitin Conjugation Enzymes (Ubc; E2) involved in the ubiquitination cascade controlling the cell cycle progression, whereby ubiquitin, activated by E1, is transferred through E2 to the target protein with the involvement of E3 enzymes. In this work we propose the first three dimensional model of the tetrameric complex formed by the human UbA1 (E1), two ubiquitin molecules and UbcH10 (E2), leading to the transthiolation reaction. The 3D model was built up by using an experimentally guided incremental docking strategy that combined homology modeling, protein-protein docking and refinement by means of molecular dynamics simulations. The structural features of the in silico model allowed us to identify the regions that mediate the recognition between the interacting proteins, revealing the active role of the ubiquitin crosslinked to E1 in the complex formation. Finally, the role of these regions involved in the E1–E2 binding was validated by designing short peptides that specifically interfere with the binding of UbcH10, thus supporting the reliability of the proposed model and representing valuable scaffolds for the design of peptidomimetic compounds that can bind selectively to Ubcs and inhibit the ubiquitylation process in pathological disorders.
PMCID: PMC4223017  PMID: 25375166
15.  A Monoclonal Antibody Against a Potential Cancer Biomarker, Human Ubiquitin-Conjugating Enzyme E2 
Hybridoma  2012;31(3):196-202.
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.
PMCID: PMC3386004  PMID: 22741584
16.  Exploring the RING-Catalyzed Ubiquitin Transfer Mechanism by MD and QM/MM Calculations 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e101663.
Ubiquitylation is a universal mechanism for controlling cellular functions. A large family of ubiquitin E3 ligases (E3) mediates Ubiquitin (Ub) modification. To facilitate Ub transfer, RING E3 ligases bind both the substrate and ubiquitin E2 conjugating enzyme (E2) linked to Ub via a thioester bond to form a catalytic complex. The mechanism of Ub transfer catalyzed by RING E3 remains elusive. By employing a combined computational approach including molecular modeling, molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, and quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) calculations, we characterized this catalytic mechanism in detail. The three-dimensional model of dimeric RING E3 ligase RNF4 RING, E2 ligase UbcH5A, Ub and the substrate SUMO2 shows close contact between the substrate and Ub transfer catalytic center. Deprotonation of the substrate lysine by D117 on UbcH5A occurs with almost no energy barrier as calculated by MD and QM/MM calculations. Then, the side chain of the activated lysine gets close to the thioester bond via a conformation change. The Ub transfer pathway begins with a nucleophilic addition that forms an oxyanion intermediate of a 4.23 kcal/mol energy barrier followed by nucleophilic elimination, resulting in a Ub modified substrate by a 5.65 kcal/mol energy barrier. These results provide insight into the mechanism of RING-catalyzed Ub transfer guiding the discovery of Ub system inhibitors.
PMCID: PMC4086935  PMID: 25003393
17.  Molecular Basis for the Association of Human E4B U box Ubiquitin Ligase with E2 Conjugating Enzymes UbcH5c and Ubc4 
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.
PMCID: PMC3005147  PMID: 20696396
18.  Overexpression of the E2 ubiquitin–conjugating enzyme UbcH10 causes chromosome missegregation and tumor formation 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2010;188(1):83-100.
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.
PMCID: PMC2812857  PMID: 20065091
19.  Mechanism of ubiquitylation by dimeric RING ligase RNF4 
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.
PMCID: PMC3326525  PMID: 21857666
20.  Ubiquitin control of S phase: a new role for the ubiquitin conjugating enzyme, UbcH7 
Cell Division  2009;4:17.
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.
PMCID: PMC2734563  PMID: 19664228
21.  APC2 Cullin Protein and APC11 RING Protein Comprise the Minimal Ubiquitin Ligase Module of the Anaphase-promoting Complex 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2001;12(12):3839-3851.
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.
PMCID: PMC60759  PMID: 11739784
22.  E2 ubiquitin conjugating enzymes regulate the deubiquitinating activity of OTUB1 
OTUB1 is a Lys48-specific deubiquitinating enzyme that forms a complex in vivo with E2 ubiquitin conjugating enzymes including UBC13 and UBCH5. OTUB1 binds to E2~Ub thioester intermediates and prevent ubiquitin transfer, thereby non-catalytically inhibiting accumulation of polyubiquitin. We report here that a second role of OTUB1-E2 interactions is to stimulate OTUB1 cleavage of Lys48 polyubiquitin, and that this stimulation is regulated by the ratio of charged to uncharged E2 and by the concentration of Lys48-linked polyubiquitin and free ubiquitin. Structural and biochemical studies of human and worm OTUB1 and UBCH5B show that the E2 stimulates binding of the Lys48 polyubiquitin substrate by stabilizing folding of the OTUB1 N-terminal ubiquitin-binding helix. Our results suggest that OTUB1-E2 complexes in the cell are poised to regulate polyubiquitin chain elongation or degradation in response to changing levels of E2 charging and available free ubiquitin.
PMCID: PMC3941643  PMID: 23955022
23.  ISG15 Arg151 and the ISG15-Conjugating Enzyme UbE1L Are Important for Innate Immune Control of Sindbis Virus▿  
Journal of Virology  2008;83(4):1602-1610.
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.
PMCID: PMC2643764  PMID: 19073728
24.  The Ubiquitin-Conjugating Enzyme UBCH7 Acts as a Coactivator for Steroid Hormone Receptors 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2004;24(19):8716-8726.
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.
PMCID: PMC516762  PMID: 15367689
Journal of neurochemistry  2010;113(2):402-417.
Various mutations in the PARK2 gene which encodes the protein, parkin, are causal of a disease entity termed autosomal recessive juvenile parkinsonism. Parkin can function as an E3 ubiquitin protein ligase, mediating the ubiquitination of specific targeted proteins and resulting in proteasomal degradation. Parkin is thought to lead to parkinsonism as a consequence of a loss in its function. In this study, immunoblot analyses of brain extracts from Balb/c, C57Bl/6, C3H, and 129S mouse strains demonstrated significant variations in immunoreactivity with anti-parkin monoclonal antibodies (PRK8, PRK28, and PRK109). This resulted partly from differences in the steady-state levels of parkin protein across mouse strains. There was also a complete loss of immunoreactivity for PRK8 and PRK28 antibodies in C3H mice which was due to a homologous nucleotide substitution resulting in an E398Q amino acid substitution. In cultured cells, parkin harboring this mutation had a greater tendency to aggregate, exhibited reduced interaction with the E2 ubiquitin conjugating enzymes, UbcH7 and UbcH8, and demonstrated loss of function in promoting the proteasomal degradation of a specific putative substrate, synphilin-1. In situ, C3H mice displayed an age-dependent increased levels of brain cortical synphilin-1 compared to C57Bl/6, suggesting that E398Q parkin in these mice is functionally impaired and that C3H mice may be a suitable model of parkin loss-of-function similar to patients with missense mutations.
PMCID: PMC2908247  PMID: 20089136
Parkin; C3H mouse; E3 ligase; Parkinson disease; mutation; recessive

Results 1-25 (968552)