Activation of ubiquitination occurs during spermatogenesis and is dependent on the induction of isoforms of the UBC4 family of ubiquitin-conjugating enzymes. The UBC4-testis isoform is testis specific, is induced in round spermatids, and demonstrates biochemical functions distinct from a ubiquitously expressed isoform UBC4-1. To explore further the function of UBC4-testis, mice bearing inactivation of this gene were produced. Homozygous (−/−) mice showed normal body growth and fertility. Although testis weight and morphology were normal in testes from adult mice, examination of young mice during the first wave of spermatogenesis revealed that testes were ∼10% smaller in weight at 40 and 45 days of age but had become normal at 65 days of age. Overall protein content, levels of ubiquitinated proteins, and ubiquitin-conjugating activity did not differ between wild-type and homozygous (−/−) mice. Spermatid number, as well as the motility of spermatozoa isolated from the epididymis, was also normal in homozygous (−/−) mice. To determine whether the germ cells lacking UBC4-testis might be more sensitive to stress, testes from wild-type and knockout mice were exposed to heat stress by implantation in the abdominal cavity. Testes from both strains of mice showed similar rates of degeneration in response to heat. The lack of an obvious phenotype did not appear to be due to induction of other UBC4 isoforms, as shown by two-dimensional gel immunoblotting. Our data indicate that UBC4-testis plays a role in early maturation of the testis and suggest that the many UBC4 isoforms have mixed redundant and specific functions.
During spermatogenesis, a large fraction of cellular proteins is degraded as the spermatids evolve to their elongated mature forms. In particular, histones must be degraded in early elongating spermatids to permit chromatin condensation. Our laboratory previously demonstrated the activation of ubiquitin conjugation during spermatogenesis. This activation is dependent on the ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme (E2) UBC4, and a testis-particular isoform, UBC4-testis, is induced when histones are degraded. Therefore, we tested whether there are UBC4-dependent ubiquitin protein ligases (E3s) that can ubiquitinate histones. Indeed, a novel enzyme, E3Histone, which could conjugate ubiquitin to histones H1, H2A, H2B, H3, and H4 in vitro, was found. Only the UBC4/UBC5 family of E2s supported E3Histone-dependent ubiquitination of histone H2A, and of this family, UBC4-1 and UBC4-testis are the preferred E2s. We purified this ligase activity 3,600-fold to near homogeneity. Mass spectrometry of the final material revealed the presence of a 482-kDa HECT domain-containing protein, which was previously named LASU1. Anti-LASU1 antibodies immunodepleted E3Histone activity. Mass spectrometry and size analysis by gel filtration and glycerol gradient centrifugation suggested that E3Histone is a monomer of LASU1. Our assays also show that this enzyme is the major UBC4-1-dependent histone-ubiquitinating E3. E3Histone is therefore a HECT domain E3 that likely plays an important role in the chromatin condensation that occurs during spermatid maturation.
The human tumour antigen PRAME (preferentially expressed antigen in melanoma) is frequently overexpressed during oncogenesis, and high PRAME levels are associated with poor clinical outcome in a variety of cancers. However, the molecular pathways in which PRAME is implicated are not well understood. We recently characterized PRAME as a BC-box subunit of a Cullin2-based E3 ubiquitin ligase. In this study, we mined the PRAME interactome to a deeper level and identified specific interactions with OSGEP and LAGE3, which are human orthologues of the ancient EKC/KEOPS complex. By characterizing biochemically the human EKC complex and its interactions with PRAME, we show that PRAME recruits a Cul2 ubiquitin ligase to EKC. Moreover, EKC subunits associate with PRAME target sites on chromatin. Our data reveal a novel link between the oncoprotein PRAME and the conserved EKC complex and support a role for both complexes in the same pathways.
The conjugation of ubiquitin to substrates requires a series of enzymatic reactions consisting of an activating enzyme (E1), conjugating enzymes (E2) and ligases (E3). Tagging the appropriate substrate with ubiquitin is achieved by specific E2-E3 and E3-substrate interactions. E6AP, a member of the HECT family of E3s, has been previously shown to bind and function with the E2s UbcH7 and UbcH8. To decipher the sequence determinants of this specificity we have developed a quantitative E2-E3 binding assay based on fluorescence polarization and used this assay to measure the affinity of wild type and mutant E2–E6AP interactions. Alanine scanning of the E6AP–UbcH7 binding interface identified 4 side chains on UbcH7 and 6 side chains on E6AP that contribute more than 1 kcal /mol to the binding free energy. Two of the hot spot residues from UbcH7 (K96 and K100) are conserved in UbcH8 but vary across other E2s. To determine if these are key specificity determining residues, we attempted to induce a tighter association between the E2 UbcH5b and E6AP by mutating the corresponding positions in UbcH5b to lysines. Surprisingly, the mutations had little effect, but rather a mutation at UbcH7 position 4, which is not at a hot spot on the UbcH7–E6AP interface, significantly strengthened UbcH5bs affinity for E6AP. This result indicates that E2-E3 binding specificities are a function of both favorable interactions that promote binding, and unfavorable interactions that prevent binding with unwanted partners.
Ubiquitin; UbcH7; E6AP; HECT; E2-E3 Specificity
HECT ubiquitin ligases (HECT E3s) are key components of the eukaryotic ubiquitin-proteasome system and are involved in the genesis of several human diseases. In this study, I analyze the patterns of diversification of HECT E3s since animals emerged in order to provide the right framework to understand the functional data available for proteins of this family.
I show that the current classification of HECT E3s into three groups (NEDD4-like E3s, HERCs and single-HECT E3s) is fundamentally incorrect. First, the existence of a "Single-HECT E3s" group is not supported by phylogenetic analyses. Second, the HERC proteins must be divided into two subfamilies (Large HERCs, Small HERCs) that are evolutionarily very distant, their structural similarity being due to convergence and not to a common origin. Sequence and structural analyses show that animal HECT E3s can be naturally classified into 16 subfamilies. Almost all of them appeared either before animals originated or in early animal evolution. More recently, multiple gene losses have occurred independently in some lineages (nematodes, insects, urochordates), the same groups that have also lost genes of another type of E3s (RBR family). Interestingly, the emergence of some animal HECT E3s precedes the origin of key cellular systems that they regulate (TGF-β and EGF signal transduction pathways; p53 family of transcription factors) and it can be deduced that distantly related HECT proteins have been independently co-opted to perform similar roles. This may contribute to explain why distantly related HECT E3s are involved in the genesis of multiple types of cancer.
The complex evolutionary history of HECT ubiquitin ligases in animals has been deciphered. The most appropriate model animals to study them and new theoretical and experimental lines of research are suggested by these results.
Over the past fourteen years, ubiquitination has emerged as a centrally important mechanism governing the subcellular trafficking of proteins. Ubiquitination, interaction with sorting factors that contain ubiquitin binding domains, and finally deubiquitination govern the itineraries of cargo proteins that include yeast carboxypeptidase S, the epithelial sodium channel ENaC, and epidermal growth factor receptor. The molecular structures and mechanisms of the paradigmatic HECT and RING domain ubiquitin ligases, JAMM and USP domain deubiquitinating enzymes, and numerous ubiquitin binding domains involved in these pathways, have been worked out in recent years and are described.
Lysosome; vacuole; yeast genetics; EGF; EGF receptor; growth factor receptor; epithelial sodium channel; ENaC; yeast genetics; carboxypeptidase S; protein structure; crystal structure; ubiquitin; RING domain; HECT domain; JAMM domain; isopeptidase; ubiquitin ligase; deubiquitinating enzyme; ubiquitin binding domain; ESCRT complex
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.
Ubiquitin signaling pathways rely on E3 ligases for effecting the final transfer of ubiquitin from E2 ubiquitin conjugating enzymes to a protein target. Here we re-evaluate the hybrid RING/HECT mechanism used by the E3 family RING-between-RINGs (RBRs) to transfer ubiquitin to substrates. We place RBRs into the context of current knowledge of HECT and RING E3s. Although not as abundant as the other types of E3s (there are only slightly more than a dozen RBR E3s in the human genome), RBRs are conserved in all eukaryotes and play important roles in biology. Re-evaluation of RBR ligases as RING/HECT E3s provokes new questions and challenges the field.
Ubiquitination and the degradation of the large subunit of RNA polymerase II, Rpb1, is not only involved in DNA damage-induced arrest but also in other transcription-obstructing events. However, the ubiquitin ligases responsible for DNA damage-independent processes in mammalian cells remain to be identified. Here, we identified Wwp2, a mouse HECT domain ubiquitin E3 ligase, as a novel ubiquitin ligase of Rpb1. We found that Wwp2 specifically interacted with mouse Rpb1 and targeted it for ubiquitination both in vitro and in vivo. Interestingly, the interaction with and ubiquitination of Rpb1 was dependent neither on its phosphorylation state nor on DNA damage. However, the enzymatic activity of Wwp2 was absolutely required for its ubiquitin modification of Rpb1. Furthermore, our study indicates that the interaction between Wwp2 and Rpb1 was mediated through WW domain of Wwp2 and C-terminal domain of Rpb1, respectively. Strikingly, downregulation of Wwp2 expression compromised Rpb1 ubiquitination and elevated its intracellular steady-state protein level significantly. Importantly, we identified six lysine residues in the C-terminal domain of Rpb1 as ubiquitin acceptor sites mediated by Wwp2. These results indicate that Wwp2 plays an important role in regulating expression of Rpb1 in normal physiological conditions.
Spermatogenesis is an intricate process in which spermatogonial stem cells divide and differentiate to produce mature sperm. This process strongly depends on protein turnover both in the developing germ cells and the supportive Sertoli cells, and recent evidence has demonstrated the role of the ubiquitin-proteasome system in this protein turnover in the testis. Itch, an E3 ligase important in the immune system, has been implicated in regulating the blood testis barrier. Although the specific role of Itch during spermatogenesis is not yet well understood, its ubiquitous expression and wide array of functional targets suggest multiple and tissue-specific roles. Here the testes of mice that lack Itch protein are evaluated at two developmental time points: peri-pubertal postnatal day (PND) 28 and adult PND 56. Itchy mice demonstrate an increased germ cell apoptotic index compared with wild type C57BL/6J mice at both PND 28 and PND 56. A corresponding 27% reduction in the total number of spermatid heads produced in PND 56 itchy mice was also evident. A histological evaluation of itchy mice revealed a delay in spermatogenesis at PND 28 and disorganization of late stage spermatids at PND 56. An analysis of several apoptotic markers revealed an age-dependent change in cleaved caspase 9, an intrinsic apoptosis mediator. The breeding success of the itchy mice was also significantly decreased, possibly due to a developmental defect. Taken together, these findings indicate that Itch is required for functional spermatogenesis, and that it may play differing cellular roles during development.
itchy; Apoptosis; E3 ligase; Itch; spermatogenesis; testis; ubiquitin
Steroid hormone receptors (SHR) belong to a large family of ligand-activated transcription factors that perform their biological functions by enhancing the transcription of specific target genes. The transactivation functions of SHRs are regulated by a specialized group of proteins called coactivators. The SHR coactivators represent a growing class of proteins with various enzymatic activities that serve to modify the chromatin to facilitate the transcription of SHR target genes. The ubiquitin-proteasome pathway enzymes have also been added to the growing list of enzymatic activities that are recruited to the SHR target gene promoters during transcription. One such ubiquitin-proteasome pathway enzyme to be identified and characterized as a SHR coactivator was E6-associated protein (E6-AP). E6-AP is a hect (homologous to E6-associated protein carboxy-terminal domain) domain containing E3 ubiquitin ligase that possesses two independent separable functions; a coactivation function and an ubiquitin-protein ligase activity. Being a component of the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway, it is postulated that E6-AP may orchestrate the dynamics of steroid hormone receptor-mediated transcription by regulating the degradation of the transcriptional complexes. E6-AP has also been shown to be involved in the regulation of various aspects of reproduction such as prostate and mammary gland development. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that E6-AP expression is down-regulated in breast and prostate tumors and that the expression of E6-AP is inversely associated with that of estrogen and androgen receptors. This review summarizes our current knowledge about the structures, molecular mechanisms, spatiotemporal expression patterns and biological functions of E6-AP.
E3 ubiquitin ligases are a large family of proteins that are engaged in the regulation of the turnover and activity of many target proteins. Together with ubiquitin-activating enzyme E1 and ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme E2, E3 ubiquitin ligases catalyze the ubiquitination of a variety of biologically significant protein substrates for targeted degradation through the 26S proteasome, as well as for nonproteolytic regulation of their functions or subcellular localizations. E3 ubiquitin ligases, therefore, play an essential role in the regulation of many biologic processes. Increasing amounts of evidence strongly suggest that the abnormal regulation of some E3 ligases is involved in cancer development. Furthermore, some E3 ubiquitin ligases are frequently overexpressed in human cancers, which correlates well with increased chemoresistance and poor clinic prognosis. In this review, E3 ubiquitin ligases (such as murine double minute 2, inhibitor of apoptosis protein, and Skp1-Cullin-F-box protein) will be evaluated as potential cancer drug targets and prognostic biomarkers. Extensive study in this field would lead to a better understanding of the molecular mechanism by which E3 ligases regulate cellular processes and of how their deregulations contribute to carcinogenesis. This would eventually lead to the development of a novel class of anticancer drugs targeting specific E3 ubiquitin ligases, as well as the development of sensitive biomarkers for cancer treatment, diagnosis, and prognosis.
Apoptosis; biomarkers; cancer targets; E3 ubiquitin ligases; protein degradation
The cell adhesion molecule-1 (Cadm1) is a member of the immunoglobulin superfamily. In the mouse testis, Cadm1 is expressed in the earlier spermatogenic cells up to early pachytene spermatocytes and also in elongated spermatids, but not in Sertoli cells. Cadm1-deficient mice have male infertility due to defective spermatogenesis, in which detachment of spermatids is prominent while spermatocytes appear intact. To elucidate the molecular mechanisms of the impaired spermatogenesis caused by Cadm1 deficiency, we performed DNA microarray analysis of global gene expression in the testis compared between Cadm1-deficient and wild-type mice. Out of the 25 genes upregulated in Cadm1-deficient mice, we took a special interest in myelin protein zero-like 2 (Mpzl2), another cell adhesion molecule of the immunoglobulin superfamily. The levels of Mpzl2 mRNA increased by 20-fold and those of Mpzl2 protein increased by 2-fold in the testis of Cadm1-deficient mice, as analyzed with quantitative PCR and western blotting, respectively. In situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry demonstrated that Mpzl2 mRNA and protein are localized in the earlier spermatogenic cells but not in elongated spermatids or Sertoli cells, in both wild-type and Cadm1-deficient mice. These results suggested that Mpzl2 can compensate for the deficiency of Cadm1 in the earlier spermatogenic cells.
cell adhesion molecule; immunoglobulin superfamily; knockout mouse; spermatogenesis; testis
Studies in yeast and mammalian cells over the past decade have shown that HECT domain ubiquitin ligases (HECT E3 enzymes) are involved in diverse physiological pathways. Many substrates of specific HECT E3s have been identified, as well as many adaptor proteins that aid in defining substrate specificity or intracellular localization of HECT E3s. Here we review some recently discovered mechanisms for regulation of the catalytic activities of HECT E3s, including regulation at the level of E2 recruitiment, phosphorylation-dependent relief of inhibitory intramolecular interactions, and regulation by association with a deubiquitinating enzyme.
Protein ubiquitination is a post-translational protein modification that regulates many biological conditions , , , . Trip12 is a HECT-type E3 ubiquitin ligase that ubiquitinates ARF and APP-BP1 , . However, the significance of Trip12 in vivo is largely unknown. Here we show that the ubiquitin ligase activity of Trip12 is indispensable for mouse embryogenesis. A homozygous mutation in Trip12 (Trip12mt/mt) that disrupts the ubiquitin ligase activity resulted in embryonic lethality in the middle stage of development. Trip12mt/mt embryos exhibited growth arrest and increased expression of the negative cell cycle regulator p16 , , , . In contrast, Trip12mt/mt ES cells were viable. They had decreased proliferation, but maintained both the undifferentiated state and the ability to differentiate. Trip12mt/mt ES cells had increased levels of the BAF57 protein (a component of the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex) and altered gene expression patterns. These data suggest that Trip12 is involved in global gene expression and plays an important role in mouse development.
Cullins are members of a family of scaffold proteins that assemble multisubunit ubiquitin ligase complexes to confer substrate specificity for the ubiquitination pathway. Cullin3 (Cul3) forms a catalytically inactive BTB-Cul3-Rbx1 (BCR) ubiquitin ligase, which becomes functional upon covalent attachment of the ubiquitin homologue neural-precursor-cell-expressed and developmentally down regulated 8 (Nedd8) near the C terminus of Cul3. Current models suggest that Nedd8 activates cullin complexes by providing a recognition site for a ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme. Based on the following evidence, we propose that Nedd8 activates the BCR ubiquitin ligase by mediating the dimerization of Cul3. First, Cul3 is found as a neddylated heterodimer bound to a BTB domain-containing protein in vivo. Second, the formation of a Cul3 heterodimer is mediated by a Nedd8 molecule, which covalently attaches itself to one Cul3 molecule and binds to the winged-helix B domain at the C terminus of the second Cul3 molecule. Third, complementation experiments revealed that coexpression of two distinct nonfunctional Cul3 mutants can rescue the ubiquitin ligase function of the BCR complex. Likewise, a substrate of the BCR complex binds heterodimeric Cul3, suggesting that the Cul3 complex is active as a dimer. These findings not only provide insight into the architecture of the active BCR complex but also suggest assembly as a regulatory mechanism for activation of all cullin-based ubiquitin ligases.
The Nedd4 (neural precursor cell-expressed developmentally downregulated gene 4) family of ubiquitin ligases (E3s) is characterized by a distinct modular domain architecture, with each member consisting of a C2 domain, 2–4 WW domains, and a HECT-type ligase domain. Of the nine mammalian members of this family, Nedd4 and its close relative, Nedd4-2, represent the ancestral ligases with strong similarity to the yeast, Rsp5. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae Rsp5 has a key role in regulating the trafficking, sorting, and degradation of a large number of proteins in multiple cellular compartments. However, in mammals the Nedd4 family members, including Nedd4 and Nedd4-2, appear to have distinct functions, thereby suggesting that these E3s target specific proteins for ubiquitylation. In this article we focus on the biology and emerging functions of Nedd4 and Nedd4-2, and review recent in vivo studies on these E3s.
ubiquitylation; endocytosis; trafficking; receptor; signaling
Target recognition by the ubiquitin system is mediated by E3 ubiquitin ligases. Nedd4 family members are E3 ligases comprised of a C2 domain, 2–4 WW domains that bind PY motifs (L/PPxY) and a ubiquitin ligase HECT domain. The nine Nedd4 family proteins in mammals include two close relatives: Nedd4 (Nedd4-1) and Nedd4L (Nedd4-2), but their global substrate recognition or differences in substrate specificity are unknown. We performed in vitro ubiquitylation and binding assays of human Nedd4-1 and Nedd4-2, and rat-Nedd4-1, using protein microarrays spotted with ∼8200 human proteins. Top hits (substrates) for the ubiquitylation and binding assays mostly contain PY motifs. Although several substrates were recognized by both Nedd4-1 and Nedd4-2, others were specific to only one, with several Tyr kinases preferred by Nedd4-1 and some ion channels by Nedd4-2; this was subsequently validated in vivo. Accordingly, Nedd4-1 knockdown or knockout in cells led to sustained signalling via some of its substrate Tyr kinases (e.g. FGFR), suggesting Nedd4-1 suppresses their signalling. These results demonstrate the feasibility of identifying substrates and deciphering substrate specificity of mammalian E3 ligases.
E3 ubiquitin ligase; HECT domain; Nedd4; proteome array; ubiquitin
Protein ubiquitination is an evolutionarily conserved and functionally diverse post-translational modification achieved through the sequential action of E1-activating enzymes, E2-conjugating enzymes and E3 ligases. A summary of validated ubiquitination substrates have been presented and a prediction of new substrates have been conducted in yeast. However, a systematic summary of human ubiquitination substrates containing experimental evidence and the enzymatic cascade of each substrate is not available. In the present study, hUbiquitome web resource is introduced, a public resource for the retrieval of experimentally verified human ubiquitination enzymes and substrates. hUbiquitome is the first comprehensive database of human ubiquitination cascades. Currently, hUbiquitome has in its repertoire curated data comprising 1 E1 enzyme, 12 E2 enzymes, 138 E3 ligases or complexes, 279 different substrate proteins and 17 deubiquitination enzyme terms. The biological functions of substrates from different kinds of E3s were analyzed using the collected data. The findings show that substrates ubiquitinated by RING (Really Interesting New Gene) E3s are enriched most in apoptosis-related processes, whereas substrates ubiquitinated by other E3s are enriched in gene expression-associated processes. An analysis of the data demonstrates the biological process preferences of the different kinds of E3s. hUbiquitome is the first database to systematically collect experimentally validated ubiquitinated proteins and related ubiquitination cascade enzymes which might be helpful in the field of ubiquitination-modification research.
Database URL: http://18.104.22.168/hmdd/hubi/
The ubiquitination–proteasome and degradation system is an essential process that regulates protein homeostasis. This system is involved in the regulation of cell proliferation, differentiation and survival, and dysregulations in this system lead to pathologies including cancers. The ubiquitination system is an enzymatic cascade that mediates the marking of target proteins by an ubiquitin label and thereby directs their degradation through the proteasome pathway. The ubiquitination of proteins occurs through a three-step process involving ubiquitin activation by the E1 enzyme, allowing for the transfer to a ubiquitin-conjugated enzyme E2 and to the targeted protein via ubiquitin-protein ligases (E3), the most abundant group of enzymes involved in ubiquitination. Significant advances have been made in our understanding of the role of E3 ubiquitin ligases in the control of bone turnover and tumorigenesis. These ligases are implicated in the regulation of bone cells through the degradation of receptor tyrosine kinases, signaling molecules and transcription factors. Initial studies showed that the E3 ubiquitin ligase c-Cbl, a multi-domain scaffold protein, regulates bone resorption by interacting with several molecules in osteoclasts. Further studies showed that c-Cbl controls the ubiquitination of signaling molecules in osteoblasts and in turn regulates osteoblast proliferation, differentiation and survival. Recent data indicate that c-Cbl expression is decreased in primary bone tumors, resulting in excessive receptor tyrosine kinase signaling. Consistently, c-Cbl ectopic expression reduces bone tumorigenesis by promoting tyrosine kinase receptor degradation. Here, we review the mechanisms of action of E3 ubiquitin ligases in the regulation of normal and pathologic bone formation, and we discuss how targeting the interactions of c-Cbl with some substrates may be a potential therapeutic strategy to promote osteogenesis and to reduce tumorigenesis.
ubiquitin ligases; proteasome; receptor tyrosine kinases; bone tumors; Cbl proteins; ubiquitination
NEDD8/Rub1 is a ubiquitin (Ub)-like molecule that covalently ligates to target proteins through an enzymatic cascade analogous to ubiquitylation. This modifier is known to target all cullin (Cul) family proteins. The latter are essential components of Skp1/Cul-1/F-box protein (SCF)–like Ub ligase complexes, which play critical roles in Ub-mediated proteolysis. To determine the role of the NEDD8 system in mammals, we generated mice deficient in Uba3 gene that encodes a catalytic subunit of NEDD8-activating enzyme. Uba3−/− mice died in utero at the periimplantation stage. Mutant embryos showed selective apoptosis of the inner cell mass but not of trophoblastic cells. However, the mutant trophoblastic cells could not enter the S phase of the endoreduplication cycle. This cell cycle arrest was accompanied with aberrant expression of cyclin E and p57Kip2. These results suggested that the NEDD8 system is essential for both mitotic and the endoreduplicative cell cycle progression. β-Catenin, a mediator of the Wnt/wingless signaling pathway, which degrades continuously in the cytoplasm through SCF Ub ligase, was also accumulated in the Uba3−/− cytoplasm and nucleus. Thus, the NEDD8 system is essential for the regulation of protein degradation pathways involved in cell cycle progression and morphogenesis, possibly through the function of the Cul family proteins.
NEDD8; ubiquitin; cullin; knock-out; cell cycle
G2E3 was originally described as a G2/M-specific gene with DNA damage responsive expression. The presence of a conserved HECT domain within the carboxy-terminus of the protein indicated that it likely functions as an ubiquitin ligase or E3. Although HECT domains are known to function in this capacity for many proteins, we demonstrate that a portion of the HECT domain from G2E3 plays an important role in the dynamic subcellular localization of the protein. We have shown that G2E3 is a nucleo-cytoplasmic shuttling protein with nuclear export mediated by a novel nuclear export domain that functions independently of CRM1. In full-length G2E3, a separate region of the HECT domain suppresses the function of the NES. Additionally, G2E3 contains a nucleolar localization signal (NoLS) in its amino terminus. Localization of G2E3 to the nucleolus is a dynamic process, and the protein delocalizes from the nucleolus rapidly after DNA damage. Cell cycle phase-specific expression and highly regulated subcellular localization of G2E3 suggest a possible role in cell cycle regulation and the cellular response to DNA damage.
nucleolus; DNA damage; ubiquitin ligase; HECT; CRM1; leptomycin B; nuclear export
Ubiquitination is a widely-studied regulatory modification involved in protein degradation, DNA damage repair and the immune response. Conjugation of ubiquitin to a substrate lysine occurs in an enzymatic cascade involving an E1 ubiquitin activating enzyme, and E2 ubiquitin conjugating enzyme, and an E3 ubiquitin ligase. Assays for ubiquitin conjugation include electrophoretic mobility shift assays and detection of epitope-tagged or radiolabeled ubiquitin, which are difficult to quantitate accurately and are not amenable to high throughput screening. We have developed a colorimetric assay that quantifies ubiquitin conjugation by monitoring pyrophosphate released in the first enzymatic step in ubiquitin transfer, the ATP-dependent charging of the E1 enzyme. The assay is rapid, does not rely on radioactive labeling, and requires only a spectrophotometer for detection of pyrophosphate formation. We show that pyrophosphate production by E1 is dependent on ubiquitin transfer and describe how to optimize assay conditions to measure E1, E2, or E3 activity. The kinetics of polyubiquitin chain formation by Ubc13-Mms2 measured by this assay are similar to those determined by gel assays, indicating that the data produced by this method are comparable to methods that measure ubiquitin transfer directly. This assay is adaptable to high-throughput screening of ubiquitin and ubiquitin-like conjugating enzymes.
Ubiquitin Conjugation; Ubiquitin-like proteins; Ubc13-Mms2; ubiquitin-activating enzyme
Post-translational modification by ubiquitin and ubiquitin-related proteins plays critical roles in protein degradation and in regulation of essential cellular processes. In mammals, transcription grinds to a halt during late spermiogenesis due to compaction of the spermatid genome, which creates a special need for robust post-transcriptional regulation. Here we report the finding of a novel mouse ubiquitin-like protein, UBL4B. Ubl4b is a testis-specific autosomal gene. Ubl4b lacks introns and evidently arose from an X-linked intron-bearing housekeeping gene, Ubl4a, by retroposition during mammalian evolution. While Ubl4a is expressed throughout spermatogenesis, Ubl4b is restricted to post-meiotic germ cells. Ubl4a is highly conserved, but Ubl4b has undergone rapid evolution and may have evolved new functions. Our data suggest that evolution of Ubl4b is not due to meiotic sex chromosome inactivation (MSCI). Alternatively, origination of Ubl4b was due to MSCI, but Ubl4b eventually evolved to be restricted to post-meiotic germ cells.
ubiquitin; meiosis; retrogene; MSCI; sex chromosomes; XY body; spermiogenesis; testis; germ cells