Ubiquitin-mediated degradation plays a crucial role in many fundamental biological pathways, including the mediation of cellular responses to changes in environmental conditions. A family of ubiquitin ligase complexes, called SCF complexes, found throughout eukaryotes, is involved in a variety of biological pathways. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, an SCF complex contains a common set of components, namely, Cdc53p, Skp1p, and Hrt1p. Substrate specificity is defined by a variable component called an F-box protein. The F- box is a ∼40-amino-acid motif that allows the F-box protein to bind Skp1p. Each SCF complex recognizes different substrates according to which F-box protein is associated with the complex. In yeasts, three SCF complexes have been demonstrated to associate with the ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme Cdc34p and have ubiquitin ligase activity. F-box proteins are not abundant and are unstable. As part of the SCFMet30p complex, the F-box protein Met30p represses methionine biosynthetic gene expression when availability of l-methionine is high. Here we demonstrate that in vivo SCFMet30p complex activity can be regulated by the abundance of Met30p. Furthermore, we provide evidence that Met30p abundance is regulated by the availability of l-methionine. We propose that the cellular responses mediated by an SCF complex are directly regulated by environmental conditions through the control of F-box protein stability.
Ubiquitin ligases direct the transfer of ubiquitin onto substrate proteins and thus target the substrate for proteasome-dependent degradation. SCF complexes are a family of ubiquitin ligases composed of a common core of components and a variable component called an F-box protein that defines substrate specificity. Distinct SCF complexes, defined by a particular F-box protein, target different substrate proteins for degradation. Although a few have been identified to be involved in important biological pathways, such as the cell division cycle and coordinating cellular responses to changes in environmental conditions, the role of the overwhelming majority of F-box proteins is not clear. Creating inhibitors that will block the in vivo activities of specific SCF ubiquitin ligases may provide identification of substrates of these uncharacterized F-box proteins. Using Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a model system, we demonstrate that overproduction of polypeptides corresponding to the amino terminus of the F-box proteins Cdc4p and Met30p results in specific inhibition of their SCF complexes. Analyses of mutant amino-terminal alleles demonstrate that the interaction of these polypeptides with their full-length counterparts is an important step in the inhibitory process. These results suggest a common means to inhibit specific SCF complexes in vivo.
Many key activators and inhibitors of cell division are targeted for degradation by a recently described family of E3 ubiquitin protein ligases termed Skp1-Cdc53-F-box protein (SCF) complexes. SCF complexes physically link substrate proteins to the E2 ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme Cdc34, which catalyses substrate ubiquitination, leading to subsequent degradation by the 26S proteasome. SCF complexes contain a variable subunit called an F-box protein that confers substrate specificity on an invariant core complex composed of the subunits Cdc34, Skp1 and Cdc53. Here, we review the substrates and pathways regulated by the yeast F-box proteins Cdc4, Grr1 and Met30. The concepts of SCF ubiquitin ligase function are illustrated by analysis of the degradation pathway for the G1 cyclin Cln2. Through mass spectrometric analysis of Cdc53 associated proteins, we have identified three novel F-box proteins that appear to participate in SCF-like complexes. As many F-box proteins can be found in sequence databases, it appears that a host of cellular pathways will be regulated by SCF-dependent proteolysis.
The ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) is required for normal cell proliferation, vertebrate development, and cancer cell transformation. The UPS consists of multiple proteins that work in concert to target a protein for degradation via the 26S proteasome. Chains of an 8.5-kDa protein called ubiquitin are attached to substrates, thus allowing recognition by the 26S proteasome. Enzymes called ubiquitin ligases or E3s mediate specific attachment to substrates. Although there are over 600 different ubiquitin ligases, the Skp1–Cullin–F-box (SCF) complexes and the anaphase promoting complex/cyclosome (APC/C) are the most studied. SCF involvement in cancer has been known for some time while APC/C’s cancer role has recently emerged. In this review we will discuss the importance of APC/C to normal cell proliferation and development, underscoring its possible contribution to transformation. We will also examine the hypothesis that modulating a specific interaction of the APC/C may be therapeutically attractive in specific cancer subtypes. Finally, given that the APC/C pathway is relatively new as a cancer target, therapeutic interventions affecting APC/C activity may be beneficial in cancers that are resistant to classical chemotherapy.
ubiquitin; cell cycle; differentiation; cancer; ubiquitin ligase; cancer therapy
Regulation of protein stability through the ubiquitin proteasome system is a key mechanism underlying numerous cellular processes. The ubiquitin protein ligases (or E3) are in charge of substrate specificity and therefore play a pivotal role in the pathway. Among the several different E3 enzyme families, the SCF (Skp1-Cullin-F box protein) is one of the largest and best characterized. F-box proteins, in addition to the loosely conserved F-box motif that binds Skp1, often carry typical protein interaction domains and are proposed to recruit the substrate to the SCF complex. Strikingly, genomes analysis revealed the presence of large numbers of F-box proteins topping to nearly 700 predicted in Arabidopsis thaliana.
Recent evidences in various species suggest that some F-box proteins have functions not directly related to the SCF complex raising questions about the actual connection between the large F-box protein family and protein degradation, but also about their origins and evolution.
Many biological processes such as cell proliferation, differentiation, and cell death depend precisely on the timely synthesis and degradation of key regulatory proteins. While protein synthesis can be regulated at multiple levels, protein degradation is mainly controlled by the ubiquitin—proteasome system (UPS), which consists of two distinct steps: (1) ubiquitylation of targeted protein by E1 ubiquitin-activating enzyme, E2 ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme and E3 ubiquitin ligase, and (2) subsequent degradation by the 26S proteasome. Among all E3 ubiquitin ligases, the SCF (SKP1-CUL1-F-box protein) E3 ligases are the largest family and are responsible for the turnover of many key regulatory proteins. Aberrant regulation of SCF E3 ligases is associated with various human diseases, such as cancers, including skin cancer. In this review, we provide a comprehensive overview of all currently published data to define a promoting role of SCF E3 ligases in the development of skin cancer. The future directions in this area of research are also discussed with an ultimate goal to develop small molecule inhibitors of SCF E3 ligases as a novel approach for the treatment of human skin cancer. Furthermore, altered components or substrates of SCF E3 ligases may also be developed as the biomarkers for early diagnosis or predicting prognosis.
Carcinogenesis; F-box proteins; RING proteins; SCF E3 ligases; Skin; Ubiquitin ligases
Cancer cells can survive through the upregulation of cell cycle and the escape from apoptosis induced by numerous cellular stresses. In the normal cells, these biological cascades depend on scheduled proteolytic degradation of regulatory proteins via the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. Therefore, interruption of regulated proteolytic pathways leads to abnormal cell-proliferation. Ubiquitin ligases called SCF complex (consisting of Skp-1, cullin, and F-box protein) or CRL (cullin-RING ubiquitin ligase) are predominant in a family of E3 ubiquitin ligases that control a final step in ubiquitination of diverse substrates. To a great extent, the ubiquitin ligase activity of the SCF complex requires the conjugation of NEDD8 to cullins, i.e. scaffold proteins. This review is anticipated to review the downregulation system of NEDD8 conjugation by several factors including a chemical compound such as MLN4924 and protein molecules (e.g. COP9 signalosome, inactive mutant of Ubc12, and NUB1/NUB1L). Since the downregulation of NEDD8 conjugation affects cell cycle progression by inhibiting the ligase activity of SCF complexes, such knowledge in the NEDD8 conjugation pathway will contribute to the more magnificent therapies that selectively suppress tumorigenesis.
Ubiquitination; SCF complex; NEDD8; MLN4924; Ubc12; NUB1
The SCF (Skp1-Cullins-F box proteins), also known as CRL (Cullin-based RING ligase), is the largest family of E3 ubiquitin ligases that mediate ~20% ubiquitinated protein substrates for 26S proteasome degradation. Through promoting timely degradation of many key regulatory proteins, SCF E3 ligase controls numerous cellular processes; its dysfunction contributes to a number of human diseases, including cancer. The RING component of SCF complex consists of two family members, RBX1 (RING box protein-1), also known as ROC1 (Regulator of Cullins) and RBX2/ROC2 (also known as SAG, Sensitive to Apoptosis Gene), both of which are essential for the catalytic activity of SCF. RBX1 and RBX2 are evolutionarily conserved from yeast to humans and play an essential role during mouse embryonic development. Moreover, RBX1 and RBX2 are both overexpressed in multiple human cancer tissues and required for the growth and survival of cancer cells. In this review, we will discuss the similarities and differences between two RING family members, their regulation of SCF E3 ligase activity, and their role in development, cancer cell survival and skin carcinogenesis, along with a brief discussion of RBX-SCF E3 ligases as the cancer targets and a recently discovered small molecule inhibitor of SCF E3 ligases as a novel class of anticancer drugs.
Anticancer targets; Protein degradation; Neddylation; RING Box proteins; SCF E3 ubiquitin ligases; Ubiquitin-proteasome system
The SCF (Skp1–cullin–F-box proteins), also known as CRL (cullin-based RING ligase), is the largest family of E3 ubiquitin ligases that mediate approximately 20% ubiquitinated protein substrates for 26S proteasome degradation. Through promoting timely degradation of many key regulatory proteins, SCF E3 ligase controls numerous cellular processes; its dysfunction contributes to a number of human diseases, including cancer. The RING component of SCF complex consists of 2 family members, RBX1 (RING box protein 1), also known as ROC1 (regulator of cullins), and RBX2/ROC2 (also known as SAG [sensitive to apoptosis gene]), both of which are essential for the catalytic activity of SCF. RBX1 and RBX2 are evolutionarily conserved from yeast to humans and play an essential role during mouse embryonic development. Moreover, RBX1 and RBX2 are both overexpressed in multiple human cancer tissues and required for the growth and survival of cancer cells. In this review, we will discuss the similarities and differences between 2 RING family members, their regulation of SCF E3 ligase activity, and their role in development, cancer cell survival, and skin carcinogenesis, along with a brief discussion of RBX-SCF E3 ligases as the cancer targets and a recently discovered small molecule inhibitor of SCF E3 ligases as a novel class of anticancer drugs.
anticancer targets; protein degradation; neddylation; RING box proteins; SCF E3 ubiquitin ligases; ubiquitin-proteasome system
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.
Posttranslational modification of a protein by ubiquitin usually results in rapid degradation of the ubiquitinated protein by the proteasome. The transfer of ubiquitin to substrate is a multistep process. Cdc4p is a component of a ubiquitin ligase that tethers the ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme Cdc34p to its substrates. Among the domains of Cdc4p that are crucial for function are the F-box, which links Cdc4p to Cdc53p through Skp1p, and the WD-40 repeats, which are required for binding the substrate for Cdc34p. In addition to Cdc4p, other F-box proteins, including Grr1p and Met30p, may similarly act together with Cdc53p and Skp1p to function as ubiquitin ligase complexes. Because the relative abundance of these complexes, known collectively as SCFs, is important for cell viability, we have sought evidence of mechanisms that modulate F-box protein regulation. Here we demonstrate that the abundance of Cdc4p is subject to control by a peptide segment that we term the R-motif (for “reduced abundance”). Furthermore, we show that binding of Skp1p to the F-box of Cdc4p inhibits R-motif-dependent degradation of Cdc4p. These results suggest a general model for control of SCF activities.
Neuronal development requires proper migration, polarization and establishment of axons and dendrites. Growing evidence identifies the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) with its numerous components as an important regulator of various aspects of neuronal development. F-box proteins are interchangeable subunits of the Cullin-1 based E3 ubiquitin ligase, but only a few family members have been studied. Here, we report that the centrosomal E3 ligase FBXO31-SCF (Skp1/Cullin-1/F-box protein) regulates neuronal morphogenesis and axonal identity. In addition, we identified the polarity protein Par6c as a novel interaction partner and substrate targeted for proteasomal degradation in the control of axon but not dendrite growth. Finally, we ascribe a role for FBXO31 in dendrite growth and neuronal migration in the developing cerebellar cortex. Taken together, we uncovered the centrosomal E3 ligase FBXO31-SCF as a novel regulator of neuronal development.
Skp1p–cullin–F-box protein (SCF) complexes are ubiquitin-ligases composed of a core complex including Skp1p, Cdc53p, Hrt1p, the E2 enzyme Cdc34p, and one of multiple F-box proteins which are thought to provide substrate specificity to the complex. Here we show that the F-box protein Rcy1p is required for recycling of the v-SNARE Snc1p in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Rcy1p localized to areas of polarized growth, and this polarized localization required its CAAX box and an intact actin cytoskeleton. Rcy1p interacted with Skp1p in vivo in an F-box-dependent manner, and both deletion of its F box and loss of Skp1p function impaired recycling. In contrast, cells deficient in Cdc53p, Hrt1p, or Cdc34p did not exhibit recycling defects. Unlike the case for F-box proteins that are known to participate in SCF complexes, degradation of Rcy1p required neither its F box nor functional 26S proteasomes or other SCF core subunits. Importantly, Skp1p was the only major partner that copurified with Rcy1p. Our results thus suggest that a complex composed of Rcy1p and Skp1p but not other SCF components may play a direct role in recycling of internalized proteins.
F-box proteins were first described as components of ubiquitin ligase complexes, but have more recently been found to be involved in a variety of cellular functions, including in the kinetochore and in translational elongation.
The F-box is a protein motif of approximately 50 amino acids that functions as a site of protein-protein interaction. F-box proteins were first characterized as components of SCF ubiquitin-ligase complexes (named after their main components, Skp I, Cullin, and an F-box protein), in which they bind substrates for ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis. The F-box motif links the F-box protein to other components of the SCF complex by binding the core SCF component Skp I. F-box proteins have more recently been discovered to function in non-SCF protein complexes in a variety of cellular functions. There are 11 F-box proteins in budding yeast, 326 predicted in Caenorhabditis elegans, 22 in Drosophila, and at least 38 in humans. F-box proteins often include additional carboxy-terminal motifs capable of protein-protein interaction; the most common secondary motifs in yeast and human F-box proteins are WD repeats and leucine-rich repeats, both of which have been found to bind phosphorylated substrates to the SCF complex. The majority of F-box proteins have other associated motifs, and the functions of most of these proteins have not yet been defined.
The Skp1-Cullin-1/Cdc53-F-box protein (SCF) ubiquitin
ligase plays an important role in various biological
processes. In this enzyme complex, a variety of F-box
proteins act as receptors that recruit substrates. We have
identified a fission yeast gene encoding a novel F-box
protein Pof3, which contains, in addition to the F-box, a
tetratricopeptide repeat motif in its N terminus and a
leucine-rich-repeat motif in the C terminus, two
ubiquitous protein–protein interaction domains. Pof3 forms
a complex with Skp1
and Pcu1 (fission yeast cullin-1), suggesting that Pof3
functions as an adaptor for specific substrates. In the
absence of Pof3, cells exhibit a number of phenotypes
reminiscent of genome integrity defects. These include G2
cell cycle delay, hypersensitivity to UV, appearance of
lagging chromosomes, and a high rate of chromosome loss.
pof3 deletion strains are viable because the
DNA damage checkpoint is continuously activated in the
mutant, and this leads to G2 cell cycle delay, thereby
preventing the mutant from committing lethal mitosis. Pof3
localizes to the nucleus during the cell cycle. Molecular
analysis reveals that in this mutant the telomere is
substantially shortened and furthermore transcriptional
silencing at the telomere is alleviated. The results
highlight a role of the SCFPof3 ubiquitin
ligase in genome integrity via maintaining chromatin
The SCF (Skp1, Cullins, F-box proteins) multisubunit E3 ubiquitin ligase, also known as CRL (Cullin-RING ubiquitin Ligase) is the largest E3 ubiquitin ligase family that promotes the ubiquitination of various regulatory proteins for targeted degradation, thus regulating many biological processes, including cell cycle progression, signal transduction, and DNA replication. The efforts to discover small molecule inhibitors of a SCF-type ligase or its components were expedited by the FDA approval of Bortezomib (also known as Velcade or PS-341), the first (and only) class of general proteasome inhibitor, for the treatment of relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma and mantle cell lymphoma. Although Bortezomib has demonstrated a certain degree of cancer cell selectivity with measurable therapeutic index, the drug is, in general, cytotoxic due to its inhibition of overall protein degradation. An alternative and ideal approach is to target a specific E3 ligase, known to be activated in human cancer, for a high level of specificity and selectivity with less associated toxicity, since such inhibitors would selectively stabilize a specific set of cellular proteins regulated by this E3. Here, we review recent advances in validation of SCF E3 ubiquitin ligase as an attractive anti-cancer target and discuss how MLN4924, a small molecule inhibitor of NEDD8-activating enzyme, can be developed as a novel class of anticancer agents by inhibiting SCF E3 ligase via removal of cullin neddylation. Finally, we discuss under future perspective how basic research on SCF biology will direct the drug discovery efforts surrounding this target.
Ubiquitin-proteasome system; SCF E3 ubiquitin ligase; anticancer target; drug discovery; neddylation; cullins; F-box proteins; RING ligases
The SCF (SKP1-CUL1-F-box protein) ubiquitin ligase complex mediates polyubiquitination of proteins targeted for degradation, thereby controlling a plethora of biological processes in eukaryotic cells. Although this ubiquitination machinery is found and functional only in eukaryotes, many non-eukaryotic pathogens also encode F-box proteins, the critical subunits of the SCF complex. Increasing evidence indicates that such non-eukaryotic F-box proteins play an essential role in subverting or exploiting the host ubiquitin/proteasome system for efficient pathogen infection. A recent bioinformatic analysis has identified more than 70 F-box proteins in 22 different bacterial species, suggesting that use of pathogen-encoded F-box effectors in the host cell may be a widespread infection strategy. In this review, we focus on plant pathogen-encoded F-box effectors, such as VirF of Agrobacterium tumefaciens, GALAs of Ralstonia solanacearum, and P0 of Poleroviruses, and discuss the molecular mechanism by which plant pathogens use these factors to manipulate the host cell for their own benefit.
F-box; SCF complex; ubiquitin; protein degradation; Agrobacterium; Ralstonia; Polerovirus
The F-box domain is a protein structural motif of about 50 amino acids that mediates protein–protein interactions. The F-box protein is one of the four components of the SCF (SKp1, Cullin, F-box protein) complex, which mediates ubiquitination of proteins targeted for degradation by the proteasome, playing an essential role in many cellular processes. Several discoveries have been made on the use of the ubiquitin–proteasome system by viruses of several families to complete their infection cycle. On the other hand, F-box proteins can be used in the defense response by the host. This review describes the role of F-box proteins and the use of the ubiquitin–proteasome system in virus–host interactions.
F-box; SCF complex; virus-host interactions; viral infection
The archipelago gene (ago) encodes the F-box specificity subunit of an SCF(skp-cullin-f box) ubiquitin ligase that inhibits cell proliferation in Drosophila melanogaster and suppresses tumorigenesis in mammals. ago limits mitotic activity by targeting cell cycle and cell growth proteins for ubiquitin-dependent degradation, but the diverse developmental roles of other F-box proteins suggests that it is likely to have additional protein targets. Here we show that ago is required for the post-mitotic shaping of the Drosophila embryonic tracheal system, and that it acts in this tissue by targeting the Trachealess (Trh) protein, a conserved bHLH-PAS transcription factor. ago restricts Trh levels in vivo and antagonizes transcription of the breathless FGF receptor, a known target of Trh in the tracheal system. At a molecular level, the Ago protein binds Trh and is required for proteasome-dependent elimination of Trh in response to expression of the Dysfusion protein. ago mutations that elevate Trh levels in vivo are defective in binding forms of Trh found in Dysfusion-positive cells. These data identify a novel function for the ago ubiquitin-ligase in tracheal morphogenesis via Trh and its target breathless, and suggest that ago has distinct functions in mitotic and post-mitotic cells that influence its role in development and disease.
Poxviruses are notorious for encoding multiple proteins that regulate cellular signaling pathways, including the ubiquitin-proteasome system. Bioinformatics indicated that ectromelia virus, the causative agent of lethal mousepox, encoded four proteins, EVM002, EVM005, EVM154, and EVM165, containing putative F-box domains. In contrast to cellular F-box proteins, the ectromelia virus proteins contain C-terminal F-box domains in conjunction with N-terminal ankyrin repeats, a combination that has not been previously reported for cellular proteins. These observations suggested that the ectromelia virus F-box proteins interact with SCF (Skp1, cullin-1, and F-box) ubiquitin ligases. We focused our studies on EVM005, since this protein had only one ortholog in cowpox virus. Using mass spectrometry, we identified cullin-1 as a binding partner for EVM005, and this interaction was confirmed by overexpression of hemagglutinin (HA)-cullin-1. During infection, Flag-EVM005 and HA-cullin-1 colocalized to distinct cellular bodies. Significantly, EVM005 coprecipitated with endogenous Skp1, cullin-1, and Roc1 and associated with conjugated ubiquitin, suggesting that EVM005 interacted with the components of a functional ubiquitin ligase. Interaction of EVM005 with cullin-1 and Skp1 was abolished upon deletion of the F-box, indicating that the F-box played a crucial role in interaction with the SCF complex. Additionally, EVM002 and EVM154 interacted with Skp1 and conjugated ubiquitin, suggesting that ectromelia virus encodes multiple F-box-containing proteins that regulate the SCF complex. Our results indicate that ectromelia virus has evolved multiple proteins that interact with the SCF complex.
During cell proliferation, protein degradation is strictly regulated by the cell cycle and involves two complementary ubiquitin ligase complexes, the SCF (Skp, Cullin, F-box) and APC/C (Anaphase Promoting Complex/Cyclosome) ubiquitin ligases. SCF ligases are constitutively active and generally target only proteins after they have been selected for degradation, usually by phosphorylation. In contrast, APC/C complexes are themselves activated by phosphorylation and their substrates contain a targeting signal known as degron, a consensus amino acid sequence such as a D-Box. SCF complexes degrade proteins during the G1 phase. However, as DNA synthesis begins, the SCF complexes are degraded and APC/C complexes are activated. APC-2, a protein crucial to cell division, initiates anaphase by triggering the degradation of multiple proteins. This study explores an unexpected interaction between APC-2 and SCFFBG1. We found that FBG1 is a promiscuous ubiquitin ligase with many partners. Immunoprecipitation experiments demonstrate that FBG1 and APC2 interact directly. Mutagenesis-based experiments show that this interaction requires a D-Box found within the FBG1 F-box domain. Unexpectedly, we demonstrate that co-expression with FBG1 increases total APC2 levels. However, free APC2 is decreased, inhibiting cell proliferation. Finally, FACS analysis of cell populations expressing different forms of FBG1 demonstrate that this ubiquitin ligase induces S-phase arrest, illustrating the functional consequences of the interaction described. In summary, we have discovered a novel APC2 inhibitory activity of FBG1 independent from its function as ubiquitin ligase, providing the basis for future studies of FBG1 in aging and cancer.
FBG1; Cul1; Cul7; APC2; SCF; glycoprotein; degradation
The coupling of cellular growth and division is crucial for a cell to make an accurate copy of itself. Regulated protein degradation by the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) plays an important role in the coordination of these two processes. Many ubiquitin ligases, in particular the Skp1-Cullin-F-box protein (SCF) family and Anaphase-Promoting Complex (APC), couple growth and division by targeting cell cycle and metabolic regulators for degradation. However, many regulatory proteins are targeted by multiple ubiquitin ligases. As a result, we are only just beginning to understand the complexities of the proteolytic regulatory network that connects cell growth and the cell cycle.
Cell cycle; ubiquitin; proteolysis; cyclin; glycolysis
S phase kinase-associated protein 1 (SKP1)–cullin 1 (CUL1)–F-box protein (SCF) ubiquitin ligase complexes use a family of F-box proteins as substrate adaptors to mediate the degradation of a large number of regulatory proteins involved in diverse processes. The dysregulation of SCF complexes and their substrates contributes to multiple pathologies. In the 14 years since the identification and annotation of the F-box protein family, the continued identification and characterization of novel substrates has greatly expanded our knowledge of the regulation of substrate targeting and the roles of F-box proteins in biological processes. Here, we focus on the evolution of our understanding of substrate recruitment by F-box proteins, the dysregulation of substrate recruitment in disease and potential avenues for F-box protein-directed disease therapies.
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.
Drosophila Morgue is a unique ubiquitination protein that facilitates programmed cell death and associates with DIAP1, a critical cell death inhibitor with E3 ubiquitin ligase activity. Morgue possesses a unique combination of functional domains typically associated with distinct types of ubiquitination enzymes. This includes an F box characteristic of the substrate-binding subunit in Skp, Cullin, and F box (SCF)-type ubiquitin E3 ligase complexes and a variant ubiquitin E2 conjugase domain where the active site cysteine is replaced by a glycine. Morgue also contains a single C4-type zinc finger motif. This architecture suggests potentially novel ubiquitination activities for Morgue. In this study, we address the evolutionary origins of this distinctive protein utilizing a combination of bioinformatics and molecular biology approaches. We find that Morgue exhibits widespread but restricted phylogenetic distribution among metazoans. Morgue proteins were identified in a wide range of Protostome phyla, including Arthropoda, Annelida, Mollusca, Nematoda, and Platyhelminthes. However, with one potential exception, Morgue was not detected in Deuterostomes, including Chordates, Hemichordates, or Echinoderms. Morgue was also not found in Ctenophora, Cnidaria, Placozoa, or Porifera. Characterization of Morgue sequences within specific animal lineages suggests that gene deletion or acquisition has occurred during divergence of nematodes and that at least one arachnid expresses an atypical form of Morgue consisting only of the variant E2 conjugase domain. Analysis of the organization of several morgue genes suggests that exon-shuffling events have contributed to the evolution of the Morgue protein. These results suggest that Morgue mediates conserved and distinctive ubiquitination functions in specific cell death pathways.
Morgue; F box; ubiquitin conjugase; apoptosis; gene evolution; exon shuffling