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1.  Regulation of Proteolysis by Human Deubiquitinating Enzymes 
Biochimica et biophysica acta  2013;1843(1):10.1016/j.bbamcr.2013.06.027.
The post-translational attachment of one or several ubiquitin molecules to a protein generates a variety of targeting signals that are used in many different ways in the cell. Ubiquitination can alter the activity, localization, protein-protein interactions or stability of the targeted protein. Further, a very large number of proteins are subject to regulation by ubiquitin-dependent processes, meaning that virtually all cellular functions are impacted by these pathways. Nearly a hundred enzymes from five different gene families (the deubiquitinating enzymes or DUBs), reverse this modification by hydrolyzing the (iso)peptide bond tethering ubiquitin to itself or the target protein. Four of these families are thiol proteases and one is a metalloprotease. DUBs of the Ubiquitin C-terminal Hydrolase (UCH) family act on small molecule adducts of ubiquitin, process the ubiquitin proprotein, and trim ubiquitin from the distal end of a polyubiquitin chain. Ubiquitin Specific Proteases (USP) tend to recognize and encounter their substrates by interaction of the variable regions of their sequence with the substrate protein directly, or with scaffolds or substrate adapters in multiprotein complexes. Ovarian Tumor (OTU) domain DUBs show remarkable specificity for different Ub chain linkages and may have evolved to recognize substrates on the basis of those linkages. The Josephin family of DUBs may specialize in distinguishing between polyubiquitin chains of different lengths. Finally, the JAB1/MPN+/MOV34 (JAMM) domain metalloproteases cleave the isopeptide bond near the attachment point of polyubiquitin and substrate, as well as being highly specific for the K63 poly-Ub linkage. These DUBs regulate proteolysis by: directly interacting with and co-regulating E3 ligases; altering the level of substrate ubiquitination; hydrolyzing or remodeling ubiquitinated and poly-ubiquitinated substrates; acting in specific locations in the cell and altering the localization of the target protein; and acting on proteasome bound substrates to facilitate or inhibit proteolysis. Thus, the scope and regulation of the ubiquitin pathway is very similar to that of phosphorylation, with the DUBs serving the same functions as the phosphatase.
PMCID: PMC3833951  PMID: 23845989
Deubiquitinating enzyme; Ubiquitin; Poly-Ubiquitin; Proteolysis; Regulation
2.  BAP1 is Phosphorylated at Serine 592 in S-phase Following DNA Damage 
FEBS letters  2013;587(24):3906-3911.
The human BAP1 deubiquitinating enzyme is a chromatin-bound transcriptional regulator and tumor suppressor. BAP1 functions in suppressing cell proliferation, yet its role in the DNA damage response pathway is less understood. In this study we characterized DNA damage-induced phosphorylation of BAP1 at Serine 592 (pS592) and the cellular outcomes of this modification. In contrast to the majority of BAP1, pS592-BAP1 is predominantly dissociated from chromatin. These findings support a model whereby stress induced phosphorylation functions to displace BAP1 from specific promoters. We hypothesize that this regulates the transcription of a subset of genes involved in the response to DNA damage.
PMCID: PMC3923164  PMID: 24211834
BAP1; Deubiquitinating enzyme; DNA Damage; Phosphorylation; Ubiquitin
3.  An Emerging Model for BAP1’s Role in Regulating Cell Cycle Progression 
Cell biochemistry and biophysics  2011;60(1-2):3-11.
BRCA1-associated protein-1 (BAP1) is a 729 residue, nuclear-localized deubiquitinating enzyme (DUB) that displays tumor suppressor properties in the BAP1-null NCI-H226 lung carcinoma cell line. Studies that have altered BAP1 cellular levels or enzymatic activity have reported defects in cell cycle progression, notably at the G1/S transition. Recently BAP1 was shown to associate with the transcriptional regulator host cell factor 1 (HCF-1). The BAP1/HCF-1 interaction is mediated by the HCF-1 Kelch domain and an HCF-1 binding motif (HBM) within BAP1. HCF-1 is modified with ubiquitin in vivo, and ectopic studies suggest BAP1 deubiquitinates HCF-1. HCF-1 is a chromatin-associated protein thought to both activate and repress transcription by linking appropriate histone-modifying enzymes to a subset of transcription factors. One known role of HCF-1 is to promote cell cycle progression at the G1/S boundary by recruiting H3K4 histone methyltransferases to the E2F1 transcription factor so that genes required for S-phase can be transcribed. Given the robust associations between BAP1/HCF-1 and HCF-1/E2Fs, it is reasonable to speculate that BAP1 influences cell proliferation at G1/S by co-regulating transcription from HCF-1/E2F-governed promoters
PMCID: PMC3128820  PMID: 21484256
BAP1; Ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase; Protease; Deubiquitylase
4.  Computational Design of Second-Site Suppressor Mutations at Protein-Protein Interfaces 
Proteins  2010;78(4):1055-1065.
The importance of a protein-protein interaction to a signaling pathway can be established by showing that amino acid mutations that weaken the interaction disrupt signaling, and that additional mutations that rescue the interaction recover signaling. Identifying rescue mutations, often referred to as second-site suppressor mutations, controls against scenarios in which the initial deleterious mutation inactivates the protein or disrupts alternative protein-protein interactions. Here, we test a structure-based protocol for identifying second-site suppressor mutations that is based on a strategy previously described by Kortemme and Baker. The molecular modeling software Rosetta is used to scan an interface for point mutations that are predicted to weaken binding but can be rescued by mutations on the partner protein. The protocol typically identifies three types of specificity switches: knob-in-to-hole redesigns, switching hydrophobic interactions to hydrogen bond interactions, and replacing polar interactions with non-polar interactions. Computational predictions were tested with two separate protein complexes; the G-protein Gαi1 bound to the RGS14 GoLoco motif, and UbcH7 bound to the ubiquitin ligase E6AP. Eight designs were experimentally tested. Swapping a buried hydrophobic residue with a polar residue dramatically weakened binding affinities. In none of these cases were we able to identify compensating mutations that returned binding to wild type affinity, highlighting the challenges inherent in designing buried hydrogen bond networks. The strongest specificity switches were a knob-in-to-hole design (20-fold) and the replacement of a charge-charge interaction with non-polar interactions (55-fold). In two cases, specificity was further tuned by including mutations distant from the initial design.
PMCID: PMC2903445  PMID: 19899154
Computational Protein Design; Protein-Protein Interactions; Protein Binding Specificity; Rosetta Molecular Modeling Software
5.  Structure-based Protocol for Identifying Mutations that Enhance Protein-Protein Binding Affinities 
Journal of molecular biology  2007;371(5):1392-1404.
The ability to manipulate protein binding affinities is important for the development of proteins as biosensors, industrial reagents, and therapeutics. We have developed a structure-based method to rationally predict single mutations at protein-protein interfaces that enhance binding affinities. The protocol is based on the premise that increasing buried hydrophobic surface area and/or reducing buried hydrophilic surface area will generally lead to enhanced affinity if large steric clashes are not introduced and buried polar groups are not left without a hydrogen bond partner. The procedure selects affinity enhancing point mutations at the protein-protein interface using three criteria: 1) the mutation must be from a polar amino acid to a non-polar amino acid or from a non-polar amino acid to a larger non-polar amino acid, 2) the free energy of binding as calculated with the Rosetta protein modeling program should be more favorable than the free energy of binding calculated for the wild type complex and 3) the mutation should not be predicted to significantly destabilize the monomers. The Rosetta energy function emphasizes short-range interactions: steric repulsion, Van der Waals forces, hydrogen bonding, and an implicit solvation model that penalizes placing atoms adjacent to polar groups. The performance of the computational protocol was experimentally tested on two separate protein complexes; Gαi1 from the heterotrimeric G-protein system bound to the RGS14 GoLoco motif, and the E2, UbcH7, bound to the E3, E6AP from the ubiquitin pathway. 12 single-site mutations that were predicted to be stabilizing were synthesized and characterized in the laboratory. 9 of the 12 mutations successfully increased binding affinity with 5 of these increasing binding by over 1.0 kcal/mol. To further assess our approach we searched the literature for point mutations that pass our criteria and have experimentally determined binding affinities. Of the 8 mutations identified, 5 were accurately predicted to increase binding affinity, further validating the method as a useful tool to increase protein-protein binding affinities.
PMCID: PMC2682327  PMID: 17603074
Computational Protein Design; Protein-Protein Interactions; Protein Binding Hotspots; Rosetta Molecular Modeling Software; Hydrophobic Effect
6.  Sequence Determinants of E2-E6AP Binding Affinity and Specificity 
Journal of molecular biology  2007;369(2):419-428.
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.
PMCID: PMC1945100  PMID: 17433363
Ubiquitin; UbcH7; E6AP; HECT; E2-E3 Specificity
7.  High-resolution Structural and Thermodynamic Analysis of Extreme Stabilization of Human Procarboxypeptidase by Computational Protein Design 
Journal of Molecular Biology  2007;366(4):1209-1221.
Recent efforts to design de novo or redesign the sequence and structure of proteins using computational techniques have met with significant success. Most, if not all, of these computational methodologies attempt to model atomic-level interactions, and hence high-resolution structural characterization of the designed proteins is critical for evaluating the atomic-level accuracy of the underlying design force-fields. We previously used our computational protein design protocol RosettaDesign to completely redesign the sequence of the activation domain of human procarboxypeptidase A2. With 68% of the wild-type sequence changed, the designed protein, AYEdesign, is over 10 kcal/mol more stable than the wild-type protein. Here, we describe the high-resolution crystal structure and solution NMR structure of AYEdesign, which show that the experimentally determined backbone and side-chains conformations are effectively superimposable with the computational model at atomic resolution. To isolate the origins of the remarkable stabilization, we have designed and characterized a new series of procarboxypeptidase mutants that gain significant thermodynamic stability with a minimal number of mutations; one mutant gains more than 5 kcal/mol of stability over the wild-type protein with only four amino acid changes. We explore the relationship between force-field smoothing and conformational sampling by comparing the experimentally determined free energies of the overall design and these focused subsets of mutations to those predicted using modified force-fields, and both fixed and flexible backbone sampling protocols.
PMCID: PMC3764424  PMID: 17196978
HSQC, heteronuclear single-quantum coherence; NOE, nuclear Overhauser effect; NOESY, NOE spectroscopy; RMSD, root-mean-square deviation; RDF, radial distribution function; Computational protein design; Rosetta; Thermodynamic stabilization; High-resolution protein structure; Procarboxypeptidase A2

Results 1-7 (7)