The ubiquitin-proteasome system comprises hundreds of distinct pathways of degradation, which converge at the step of ubiquitin recognition by the proteasome. Five proteasomal ubiquitin receptors have been identified, two that are intrinsic to the proteasome (Rpn10 and Rpn13) and three reversibly associated proteasomal ubiquitin receptors (Rad23, Dsk2, and Ddi1).
We found that the five known proteasomal ubiquitin receptors of yeast are collectively nonessential for ubiquitin recognition by the proteasome. We therefore screened for additional ubiquitin receptors in the proteasome and identified subunit Rpn1 as a candidate. We used nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy to characterize the structure of the binding site within Rpn1, which we term the T1 site. Mutational analysis of this site showed its functional importance within the context of intact proteasomes. T1 binds both ubiquitin and ubiquitin-like (UBL) proteins, in particular the substrate-delivering shuttle factor Rad23. A second site within the Rpn1 toroid, T2, recognizes the UBL domain of deubiquitinating enzyme Ubp6, as determined by hydrogen-deuterium exchange mass spectrometry analysis and validated by amino acid substitution and functional assays. The Rpn1 toroid thus serves a critical scaffolding role within the proteasome, helping to assemble multiple proteasome cofactors as well as substrates.
Our results indicate that proteasome subunit Rpn1 can recognize both ubiquitin and UBL domains of substrate shuttling factors that themselves bind ubiquitin and function as reversibly-associated proteasomal ubiquitin receptors. Recognition is mediated by the T1 site within the Rpn1 toroid, which supports proteasome function in vivo. We found that the capacity of T1 to recognize both ubiquitin and UBL proteins was shared with Rpn10 and Rpn13. The surprising multiplicity of ubiquitin-recognition domains within the proteasome may promote enhanced, multipoint binding of ubiquitin chains. The structures of the T1 site in its free state and complexed with monoubiquitin or K48-linked diubiquitin were solved, revealing that three neighboring outer helices from the T1 toroid engage two ubiquitins. This binding mode leads to a preference for certain ubiquitin chain types, especially K6- and K48-linked chains, in a distinct configuration that can position substrates close to the entry port of the proteasome. The fate of proteasome-docked ubiquitin conjugates is determined by a competition between deubiquitination and substrate degradation. We find that proximal to the T1 site within the Rpn1 toroid is a second UBL-binding site, T2, that does not assist in ubiquitin chain recognition, but rather in chain disassembly, by binding to the UBL domain of deubiquitinating enzyme Ubp6. Importantly, the UBL interactors at T1 and T2 are distinct, assigning substrate localization to T1 and substrate deubiquitination to T2.
A ligand-binding hotspot was identified in the Rpn1 toroid, consisting of two adjacent receptor sites, T1 and T2. The Rpn1 toroid represents a novel class of binding domains for ubiquitin and UBL proteins. This study thus defines a novel two-site recognition domain intrinsic to the proteasome that uses homologous ubiquitin/UBL-class ligands to assemble substrates, substrate shuttling factors, and a deubiquitinating enzyme in close proximity.
A ligand-binding hotspot in the proteasome for assembling substrates and cofactors
Schematic (top) and model structure (bottom, left) mapping the UBL-binding Rpn1 T1 (indigo) and T2 (orange) sites. (Bottom, right) Enlarged region of the proteasome to illustrate the Rpn1 T1 and T2 sites bound to a ubiquitin chain (yellow) and deubiquitinating enzyme Ubp6 (green), respectively. PDB 4CR2 and 2B9R were used for this figure.
Hundreds of pathways for degradation converge at ubiquitin recognition by proteasome. Here we found that the five known proteasomal ubiquitin receptors are collectively nonessential for ubiquitin recognition, and identified a sixth receptor, Rpn1. A site (T1) in the Rpn1 toroid recognized ubiquitin and ubiquitin-like (UBL) domains of substrate shuttling factors. T1 structures with monoubiquitin or K48 diubiquitin show three neighboring outer helices engaging two ubiquitins. T1 contributes a distinct substrate-binding pathway with preference for K48-linked chains. Proximal to T1 within the Rpn1 toroid is a second UBL-binding site (T2) that assists in ubiquitin chain disassembly, by binding the UBL of deubiquitinating enzyme Ubp6. Thus a two-site recognition domain intrinsic to the proteasome uses homologous ubiquitin/UBL-class ligands to assemble substrates, shuttling factors, and a deubiquitinating enzyme.