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1.  Dynamic interactions of proteins in complex networks: identifying the complete set of interacting E2s for functional investigation of E3-dependent protein ubiquitination 
The FEBS journal  2009;276(19):5381-5389.
A ubiquitin ligase (E3) functions at the crossroad between ubiquitin activation and the attachment of ubiquitin to protein substrates. During this process, the E3 interacts with both a substrate and a ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme (E2). Although a major goal when investigating an E3 is to identify its substrates, recent evidence indicates that the E2 dictates the type of ubiquitin modification that will occur on the substrate. There are ~ 30 E2s identified in the human genome, many of which remain to be characterized. We found that the RING E3 BRCA1/BARD1 can interact with 10 different E2s. The ability of BRCA1 to interact with multiple E2s is likely to be a common feature among other RING and U-box E3s. We and others have also found that certain E2s show a preference for attaching either the first ubiquitin to a substrate lysine or ubiquitin to itself (chain building), suggesting that E2s may play a role in dictating product formation. Therefore, when investigating the functions of an E3 it is advisable to identify all E2s that interact with the E3 so that these can be used in E3-dependent substrate-ubiquitination assays. We describe a method used to identify all the E2s that interact with BRCA1. Defining the set of E2s that interact with other RING and U-box E3s will open the door for predictive models and lead to a better understand of substrate ubiquitination.
PMCID: PMC2973559  PMID: 19712108
BRCA1; NMR; protein-protein interactions; RING domain; UbcH5; Ubc13; ubiquitin ligase; ubiquitination; ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme; yeast two-hybrid
2.  Biochemical Characterization of a Recombinant TRIM5α Protein That Restricts Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Replication▿ †  
Journal of Virology  2008;82(23):11682-11694.
The rhesus monkey intrinsic immunity factor TRIM5αrh recognizes incoming capsids from a variety of retroviruses, including human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV), and inhibits the accumulation of viral reverse transcripts. However, direct interactions between restricting TRIM5α proteins and retroviral capsids have not previously been demonstrated using pure recombinant proteins. To facilitate structural and mechanistic studies of retroviral restriction, we have developed methods for expressing and purifying an active chimeric TRIM5αrh protein containing the RING domain from the related human TRIM21 protein. This recombinant TRIM5-21R protein was expressed in SF-21 insect cells and purified through three chromatographic steps. Two distinct TRIM5-21R species were purified and shown to correspond to monomers and dimers, as analyzed by analytical ultracentrifugation. Chemically cross-linked recombinant TRIM5-21R dimers and mammalian-expressed TRIM5-21R and TRIM5α proteins exhibited similar sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis mobilities, indicating that mammalian TRIM5α proteins are predominantly dimeric. Purified TRIM5-21R had ubiquitin ligase activity and could autoubquitylate with different E2 ubiquitin conjugating enzymes in vitro. TRIM5-21R bound directly to synthetic capsids composed of recombinant HIV-1 CA-NC proteins and to authentic EIAV core particles. HIV-1 CA-NC assemblies bound dimeric TRIM5-21R better than either monomeric TRIM5-21R or TRIM5-21R constructs that lacked the SPRY domain or its V1 loop. Thus, our studies indicate that TRIM5α proteins are dimeric ubiquitin E3 ligases that recognize retroviral capsids through direct interactions mediated by the SPRY domain and demonstrate that these activities can be recapitulated in vitro using pure recombinant proteins.
PMCID: PMC2583683  PMID: 18799573

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