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1.  Parallel Regulation of von Hippel-Lindau Disease by pVHL-Mediated Degradation of B-Myb and Hypoxia-Inducible Factor α 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2016;36(12):1803-1817.
pVHL, the protein product of the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) tumor suppressor gene, is a ubiquitin ligase that targets hypoxia-inducible factor α (HIF-α) for proteasomal degradation. Although HIF-α activation is necessary for VHL disease pathogenesis, constitutive activation of HIF-α alone did not induce renal clear cell carcinomas and pheochromocytomas in mice, suggesting the involvement of an HIF-α-independent pathway in VHL pathogenesis. Here, we show that the transcription factor B-Myb is a pVHL substrate that is degraded via the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway and that vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)- and/or platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-dependent tyrosine 15 phosphorylation of B-Myb prevents its degradation. Mice injected with B-Myb knockdown 786-O cells developed dramatically larger tumors than those bearing control cell tumors. Microarray screening of B-Myb-regulated genes showed that the expression of HIF-α-dependent genes was not affected by B-Myb knockdown, indicating that B-Myb prevents HIF-α-dependent tumorigenesis through an HIF-α-independent pathway. These data indicate that the regulation of B-Myb by pVHL plays a critical role in VHL disease.
PMCID: PMC4907096  PMID: 27090638
2.  The role of cullin 5-containing ubiquitin ligases 
Cell Division  2016;11:1.
The suppressor of cytokine signaling (SOCS) box consists of the BC box and the cullin 5 (Cul5) box, which interact with Elongin BC and Cul5, respectively. SOCS box-containing proteins have ubiquitin ligase activity mediated by the formation of a complex with the scaffold protein Cul5 and the RING domain protein Rbx2, and are thereby members of the cullin RING ligase superfamily. Cul5-type ubiquitin ligases have a variety of substrates that are targeted for polyubiquitination and proteasomal degradation. Here, we review the current knowledge on the identification of Cul5 and the regulation of its expression, as well as the signaling pathways regulated by Cul5 and how viruses highjack the Cul5 system to overcome antiviral responses.
PMCID: PMC4812663  PMID: 27030794
Ubiquitin; Cullin 5; Elongin; CRL complex
3.  Subcellular Fractionation Analysis of the Extraction of Ubiquitinated Polytopic Membrane Substrate during ER-Associated Degradation 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(2):e0148327.
During ER-associated degradation (ERAD), misfolded polytopic membrane proteins are ubiquitinated and retrotranslocated to the cytosol for proteasomal degradation. However, our understanding as to how polytopic membrane proteins are extracted from the ER to the cytosol remains largely unclear. To better define the localization and physical properties of ubiquitinated polytopic membrane substrates in vivo, we performed subcellular fractionation analysis of Ste6*, a twelve transmembrane protein that is ubiquitinated primarily by Doa10 E3 ligase in yeast. Consistent with previous in vitro studies, ubiquitinated Ste6* was extracted from P20 (20,000 g pellet) fraction to S20 (20,000 g supernatant) fraction in a Cdc48/p97-dependent manner. Similarly, Ubx2p, which recruits Cdc48/p97 to the ER, facilitated the extraction of Ste6*. By contrast, lipid droplet formation, which was suggested to be dispensable for the degradation of Hrd1-substrates in yeast, was not required for the degradation of Ste6*. Intriguingly, we found that ubiquitinated Ste6* in the S20 fraction could be enriched by further centrifugation at 100,000 g. Although it is currently uncertain whether ubiquitinated Ste6* in P100 fraction is completely free from any lipids, membrane flotation analysis suggested the existence of two distinct populations of ubiquitinated Ste6* with different states of membrane association. Together, these results imply that ubiquitinated Ste6* may be sequestered into a putative quality control sub-structure by Cdc48/p97. Fractionation assays developed in the present study provide a means to further dissect the ill-defined post-ubiquitination step during ERAD of polytopic membrane substrates.
PMCID: PMC4743956  PMID: 26849222
4.  Recent technical developments in the study of ER-associated degradation 
Endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation (ERAD) is a mechanism during which native and misfolded proteins are recognized and retrotranslocated across the ER membrane to the cytosol for degradation by the ubiquitin-proteasome system. Like other cellular pathways, the factors required for ERAD have been analyzed using both conventional genetic and biochemical approaches. More recently, however, an integrated top-down approach has identified a functional network that underlies the ERAD system. In turn, bottom-up reconstitution has become increasingly sophisticated and elucidated the molecular mechanisms underlying substrate recognition, ubiquitylation, retrotranslocation, and degradation. In addition, a live cell imaging technique and a site-specific in vivo photo-crosslinking approach have further dissected specific steps during ERAD. These technical developments have revealed an unexpected dynamicity of the membrane-associated ERAD complex. In this article, we will discuss how these technical developments have improved our understanding of the ERAD pathway and have led to new questions.
PMCID: PMC4130770  PMID: 24867671
5.  A stalled retrotranslocation complex reveals physical linkage between substrate recognition and proteasomal degradation during ER-associated degradation 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2013;24(11):1765-1775.
Inactivation of Cdc48p/p97 triggers formation of a complex that contains the 26S proteasome, Cdc48p/p97, ubiquitinated substrates, select components of the Hrd1 complex, and the lumenal recognition factor, Yos9p. A model is proposed in which the Hrd1 complex links substrate recognition and degradation on opposite sides of the ER membrane.
During endoplasmic reticulum–associated degradation (ERAD), misfolded lumenal and membrane proteins in the ER are recognized by the transmembrane Hrd1 ubiquitin ligase complex and retrotranslocated to the cytosol for ubiquitination and degradation. Although substrates are believed to be delivered to the proteasome only after the ATPase Cdc48p/p97 acts, there is limited knowledge about how the Hrd1 complex coordinates with Cdc48p/p97 and the proteasome to orchestrate substrate recognition and degradation. Here we provide evidence that inactivation of Cdc48p/p97 stalls retrotranslocation and triggers formation of a complex that contains the 26S proteasome, Cdc48p/p97, ubiquitinated substrates, select components of the Hrd1 complex, and the lumenal recognition factor, Yos9p. We propose that the actions of Cdc48p/p97 and the proteasome are tightly coupled during ERAD. Our data also support a model in which the Hrd1 complex links substrate recognition and degradation on opposite sides of the ER membrane.
PMCID: PMC3667728  PMID: 23536702
6.  The Role of Elongin BC-Containing Ubiquitin Ligases 
The Elongin complex was originally identified as a positive regulator of RNA polymerase II and is composed of a transcriptionally active subunit (A) and two regulatory subunits (B and C). The Elongin BC complex enhances the transcriptional activity of Elongin A. “Classical” SOCS box-containing proteins interact with the Elongin BC complex and have ubiquitin ligase activity. They also interact with the scaffold protein Cullin (Cul) and the RING domain protein Rbx and thereby are members of the Cullin RING ligase (CRL) superfamily. The Elongin BC complex acts as an adaptor connecting Cul and SOCS box proteins. Recently, it was demonstrated that classical SOCS box proteins can be further divided into two groups, Cul2- and Cul5-type proteins. The classical SOCS box-containing protein pVHL is now classified as a Cul2-type protein. The Elongin BC complex containing CRL family is now considered two distinct protein assemblies, which play an important role in regulating a variety of cellular processes such as tumorigenesis, signal transduction, cell motility, and differentiation.
PMCID: PMC3355856  PMID: 22649776
ubiquitin; Cullin; Elongin; ECS complex; SCF complex
7.  Non–SCF-type F-box protein Roy1/Ymr258c interacts with a Rab5-like GTPase Ypt52 and inhibits Ypt52 function 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2011;22(9):1575-1584.
Non–SCF-type F-box protein Roy1 interacts with the Rab5-like small GTPase Ypt52. Skp1 is indispensable for the interaction of Roy1 and Ypt52. Roy1 binds to GDP and the nucleotide-free form of Ypt52 and inhibits the formation of GTP-bound, active Ypt52. Roy1 negatively modulates cell viability and intracellular transport by suppressing Ypt52.
Skp1/Cul1/F-box (SCF)–type F-box proteins are a component of the Cullin-RING SCF ubiquitin E3 ligase, which is involved in numerous cellular processes. However, the function of non–SCF-type F-box proteins remains largely unknown. The Rab5-like small guanosine 5′-triphosphatase Vps21/Ypt51 is a key regulator of intracellular transportation; however, deletion of its isoforms, Ypt52 and Ypt53, results in only a modest inhibition of intracellular trafficking. The function of these proteins therefore remains largely elusive. Here we analyze the role of a previously uncharacterized non–SCF-type F-box protein, Roy1/Ymr258c, in cell growth and intracellular transport in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Roy1 binds to Ypt52 under physiological conditions, and Skp1 is indispensable for the association of Roy1 with Ypt52. The vps21Δ yeast cells exhibit severe deficiencies in cell growth and intracellular trafficking, whereas simultaneous deletion of roy1 alleviates the defects caused by deletion of vps21. However, additional disruption of ypt52 in roy1Δvps21Δ cells largely suppresses the cell growth and trafficking observed in roy1Δvps21Δ cells. We demonstrate that Roy1 interacts with guanosine 5′-diphosphate–bound and nucleotide-free Ypt52 and thereby inhibits the formation of guanosine 5′-triphosphate–bound, active Ypt52. These results thus indicate that Roy1 negatively modulates cell viability and intracellular transport by suppressing Ypt52.
PMCID: PMC3084679  PMID: 21389113
8.  Degradation of Phosphorylated p53 by Viral Protein-ECS E3 Ligase Complex 
PLoS Pathogens  2009;5(7):e1000530.
p53-signaling is modulated by viruses to establish a host cellular environment advantageous for their propagation. The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) lytic program induces phosphorylation of p53, which prevents interaction with MDM2. Here, we show that induction of EBV lytic program leads to degradation of p53 via an ubiquitin-proteasome pathway independent of MDM2. The BZLF1 protein directly functions as an adaptor component of the ECS (Elongin B/C-Cul2/5-SOCS-box protein) ubiquitin ligase complex targeting p53 for degradation. Intringuingly, C-terminal phosphorylation of p53 resulting from activated DNA damage response by viral lytic replication enhances its binding to BZLF1 protein. Purified BZLF1 protein-associated ECS could be shown to catalyze ubiquitination of phospho-mimetic p53 more efficiently than the wild-type in vitro. The compensation of p53 at middle and late stages of the lytic infection inhibits viral DNA replication and production during lytic infection, suggesting that the degradation of p53 is required for efficient viral propagation. Taken together, these findings demonstrate a role for the BZLF1 protein-associated ECS ligase complex in regulation of p53 phosphorylated by activated DNA damage signaling during viral lytic infection.
Author Summary
Inhibition of p53-mediated transactivation is essential for regulating the cellular environment advantageous for viral infection. Specially, DNA viruses target p53 for inactivation through the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. The E6 protein of the high-risk human papillomaviruses and the cellular ubiquitin-protein ligase E6AP form a complex which causes ubiquitination and degradation of p53. The adenovirus E1B 55-kDa protein binds to both p53 and E4orf6, and recruits a Cullin-containing complex to direct the ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis of p53. However, in comparison with the effects of the smaller DNA viruses, much less is known regarding the precise mechanisms whereby the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) inhibits functions of p53. EBV possesses two alternative life cycles, latent and lytic replication. In latent phase, p53 is regulated by MDM2 ubiquitin ligase while after induction of lytic replication p53 is phosphorylated and the level of activated p53 is regulated by a novel system independent of MDM2. This report describes a unique functional role of the BZLF1 protein encoded by EBV in the modulation of activated p53. In this pathway, BZLF1 protein serves as an adaptor molecule for both Cul2- and Cul5-containing E3 ubiquitin ligase complexes to stimulate the ubiquitination and degradation of p53 for inhibiting apoptosis, indicating redundancy in the EBV machinery to downregulate p53 level. Therefore, it would be possible that the complexes regulate not only p53 but also various proteins that interact with BZLF1 protein.
PMCID: PMC2712087  PMID: 19649319
9.  Fbxw8 Is Essential for Cul1-Cul7 Complex Formation and for Placental Development 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2006;26(16):6157-6169.
Cullin-based ubiquitin ligases (E3s) constitute one of the largest E3 families. Fbxw8 (also known as Fbw6 or Fbx29) is an F-box protein that is assembled with Cul7 in an SCF-like E3 complex. Here we show that Cul7 forms a heterodimeric complex with Cul1 in a manner dependent on Fbxw8. We generated mice deficient in Fbxw8 and found that Cul7 did not associate with Cul1 in cells of these mice. Two-thirds of Fbxw8−/− embryos die in utero, whereas the remaining one-third are born alive and grow to adulthood. Fbxw8−/− embryos show intrauterine growth retardation and abnormal development of the placenta, characterized by both a reduced thickness of the spongiotrophoblast layer and abnormal vessel structure in the labyrinth layer. Although the placental phenotype of Fbxw8−/− mice resembles that of Cul7−/− mice, other abnormalities of Cul7−/− mice are not apparent in Fbxw8−/− mice. These results suggest that the Cul7-based SCF-like E3 complex has both Fbxw8-dependent and Fbxw8-independent functions.
PMCID: PMC1592786  PMID: 16880526
10.  Role of the UBL-UBA Protein KPC2 in Degradation of p27 at G1 Phase of the Cell Cycle 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2005;25(21):9292-9303.
KPC2 (Kip1 ubiquitylation-promoting complex 2) together with KPC1 forms the ubiquitin ligase KPC, which regulates degradation of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p27 at the G1 phase of the cell cycle. KPC2 contains a ubiquitin-like (UBL) domain, two ubiquitin-associated (UBA) domains, and a heat shock chaperonin-binding (STI1) domain. We now show that KPC2 interacts with KPC1 through its UBL domain, with the 26S proteasome through its UBL and NH2-terminal UBA domains, and with polyubiquitylated proteins through its UBA domains. The association of KPC2 with KPC1 was found to stabilize KPC1 in a manner dependent on the STI1 domain of KPC2. KPC2 mutants that lacked either the NH2-terminal or the COOH-terminal UBA domain supported the polyubiquitylation of p27 in vitro, whereas a KPC2 derivative lacking the STI1 domain was greatly impaired in this regard. Depletion of KPC2 by RNA interference resulted in inhibition of p27 degradation at the G1 phase, and introduction of KPC2 derivatives into the KPC2-depleted cells revealed that the NH2-terminal UBA domain of KPC2 is essential for p27 degradation. These observations suggest that KPC2 cooperatively regulates p27 degradation with KPC1 and that the STI1 domain as well as the UBL and UBA domains of KPC2 are indispensable for its function.
PMCID: PMC1265808  PMID: 16227581
11.  Regulation of Hypoxia-Inducible mRNAs by the von Hippel-Lindau Tumor Suppressor Protein Requires Binding to Complexes Containing Elongins B/C and Cul2 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1998;18(2):732-741.
The von Hippel-Lindau tumor suppressor protein (pVHL) binds to elongins B and C and posttranscriptionally regulates the accumulation of hypoxia-inducible mRNAs under normoxic (21% O2) conditions. Here we report that pVHL binds, via elongin C, to the human homolog of the Caenorhabditis elegans Cul2 protein. Coimmunoprecipitation and chromatographic copurification data suggest that pVHL-Cul2 complexes exist in native cells. pVHL mutants that were unable to bind to complexes containing elongin C and Cul2 were likewise unable to inhibit the accumulation of hypoxia-inducible mRNAs. A model for the regulation of hypoxia-inducible mRNAs by pVHL is presented based on the apparent similarity of elongin C and Cul2 to Skp1 and Cdc53, respectively. These latter proteins form complexes that target specific proteins for ubiquitin-dependent proteolysis.
PMCID: PMC108784  PMID: 9447969

Results 1-11 (11)