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Concept: SCF complex


Cullin E3 ligases are the largest family of ubiquitin ligases with diverse cellular functions. One of seven cullin proteins serves as a scaffold protein for the assembly of the multisubunit ubiquitin ligase complex. Cullin binds the RING domain protein Rbx1/Rbx2 via its C-terminus and a cullin-specific substrate adaptor protein via its N-terminus. In the Cul3 ubiquitin ligase complex, Cul3 substrate receptors contain a BTB/POZ domain. Several studies have established that Cul3-based E3 ubiquitin ligases exist in a dimeric state which is required for binding of a number of substrates and has been suggested to promote ubiquitin transfer. In two different models, Cul3 has been proposed to dimerize either via BTB/POZ domain dependent substrate receptor homodimerization or via direct interaction between two Cul3 proteins that is mediated by Nedd8 modification of one of the dimerization partners. In this study, we show that the majority of the Cul3 proteins in cells exist as dimers or multimers and that Cul3 self-association is mediated via the Cul3 N-terminus while the Cul3 C-terminus is not required. Furthermore, we show that Cul3 self-association is independent of its modification with Nedd8. Our results provide evidence for BTB substrate receptor dependent Cul3 dimerization which is likely to play an important role in promoting substrate ubiquitination.

Concepts: Proteins, Protein, Enzyme, Dimer, Ubiquitin, Ubiquitin ligase, SCF complex, RING finger domain


Jasmonate regulates critical aspects of plant development and defense. The F-box protein CORONATINE INSENSITIVE1 (COI1) functions as a jasmonate receptor and forms Skp1/Cullin1/F-box protein COI1 (SCF(COI1)) complexes with Arabidopsis thaliana Cullin1 and Arabidopsis Skp1-like1 (ASK1) to recruit its substrate jasmonate ZIM-domain proteins for ubiquitination and degradation. Here, we reveal a mechanism regulating COI1 protein levels in Arabidopsis. Genetic and biochemical analysis and in vitro degradation assays demonstrated that the COI1 protein was initially stabilized by interacting with ASK1 and further secured by assembly into SCF(COI1) complexes, suggesting a function for SCF(COI1) in the stabilization of COI1 in Arabidopsis. Furthermore, we show that dissociated COI1 is degraded through the 26S proteasome pathway, and we identified the 297th Lys residue as an active ubiquitination site in COI1. Our data suggest that the COI1 protein is strictly regulated by a dynamic balance of SCF(COI1)-mediated stabilization and 26S proteasome-mediated degradation and thus maintained at a protein level essential for proper biological functions in Arabidopsis development and defense responses.

Concepts: Proteins, Protein, Amino acid, Molecular biology, Arabidopsis thaliana, Biochemistry, C-reactive protein, SCF complex


Cullin-RING ligases (CRLs) are ubiquitin E3 enzymes with variable substrate-adaptor and -receptor subunits. All CRLs are activated by modification of the cullin subunit with the ubiquitin-like protein Nedd8 (neddylation). The protein CAND1 (Cullin-associated-Nedd8-dissociated-1) also promotes CRL activity, even though it only interacts with inactive ligase complexes. The molecular mechanism underlying this behaviour remains largely unclear. Here, we find that yeast SCF (Skp1-Cdc53-F-box) Cullin-RING complexes are remodelled in a CAND1-dependent manner, when cells are switched from growth in fermentable to non-fermentable carbon sources. Mechanistically, CAND1 promotes substrate adaptor release following SCF deneddylation by the COP9 signalosome (CSN). CSN- or CAND1-mutant cells fail to release substrate adaptors. This delays the formation of new complexes during SCF reactivation and results in substrate degradation defects. Our results shed light on how CAND1 regulates CRL activity and demonstrate that the cullin neddylation-deneddylation cycle is not only required to activate CRLs, but also to regulate substrate specificity through dynamic substrate adaptor exchange.

Concepts: Protein, Cell nucleus, Metabolism, Enzyme, Yeast, Ubiquitin ligase, SCF complex, CUL1


The receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE) is a highly expressed cell membrane receptor serving to anchor lung epithelia to matrix components, and it also amplifies inflammatory signaling during acute lung injury. However, mechanisms that regulate its protein concentrations in cells remain largely unknown. Here we show that RAGE exhibits an extended life span in lung epithelia (t½ 6 h), is monoubiquitinated at K374, and is degraded in lysosomes. The RAGE ligand ODN2006, a synthetic oligodeoxynucleotide resembling pathogenic hypomethylated CpG DNA, promotes rapid lysosomal RAGE degradation through activation of protein kinase C zeta (PKCζ), which phosphorylates RAGE. PKCζ overexpression enhances RAGE degradation, while PKCζ knockdown stabilizes RAGE protein levels and prevents ODN2006-mediated degradation. We identify that RAGE is targeted by the ubiquitin E3 ligase subunit F-box protein O10 (FBXO10), which associates with RAGE to mediate its ubiquitination and degradation. FBXO10 depletion in cells stabilizes RAGE and is required for ODN2006-mediated degradation. These data suggest that modulation of regulators involved in ubiquitin-mediated disposal of RAGE might serve as unique molecular inputs directing RAGE cellular concentrations and downstream responses, which are critical in an array of inflammatory disorders, including acute lung injury.-Evankovich, J., Lear, T., Mckelvey, A., Dunn, S., Londino, J., Liu, Y., Chen, B. B., Mallampalli, R. K. Receptor for advanced glycation end products is targeted by FBXO10 for ubiquitination and degradation.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Gene expression, Cell, Signal transduction, Posttranslational modification, Protein kinase, SCF complex


The anaphase promoting complex/cyclosome (APC/C) is an ubiquitin ligase and core component of the cell-cycle oscillator. During G1 phase, APC/C binds to its substrate receptor Cdh1 and APC/C(Cdh1) plays an important role in restricting S-phase entry and maintaining genome integrity. We describe a reciprocal feedback circuit between APC/C and a second ubiquitin ligase, the SCF (Skp1-Cul1-F box). We show that cyclin F, a cell-cycle-regulated substrate receptor (F-box protein) for the SCF, is targeted for degradation by APC/C. Furthermore, we establish that Cdh1 is itself a substrate of SCF(cyclin F). Cyclin F loss impairs Cdh1 degradation and delays S-phase entry, and this delay is reversed by simultaneous removal of Cdh1. These data indicate that the coordinated, temporal ordering of cyclin F and Cdh1 degradation, organized in a double-negative feedback loop, represents a fundamental aspect of cell-cycle control. This mutual antagonism could be a feature of other oscillating systems.

Concepts: Proteins, Cell cycle, Oscillation, Feedback, Ubiquitin, Ubiquitin ligase, SCF complex, G1 phase


Parkin (PARK2) is an E3 ubiquitin ligase that is commonly mutated in Familial Parkinson’s Disease (PD). In cell culture models, Parkin is recruited to acutely depolarised mitochondria by PINK1. PINK1 activates Parkin activity leading to ubiquitination of multiple proteins, which in turn promotes clearance of mitochondria by mitophagy. Many substrates have been identified using cell culture models in combination with depolarising drugs or proteasome inhibitors, but not in more physiological settings.

Concepts: Cell, Parkinson's disease, Proteasome, Ubiquitin, Ubiquitin ligase, SCF complex, Ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme, Ubiquitin-activating enzyme


We searched for genetic alterations in human B cell lymphoma that affect the ubiquitin-proteasome system. This approach identified FBXO25 within a minimal common region of frequent deletion in mantle cell lymphoma (MCL). FBXO25 encodes an orphan F-box protein that determines the substrate specificity of the SCF (SKP1-CUL1-F-box)(FBXO25) ubiquitin ligase complex. An unbiased screen uncovered the prosurvival protein HCLS1-associated protein X-1 (HAX-1) as the bona fide substrate of FBXO25 that is targeted after apoptotic stresses. Protein kinase Cδ (PRKCD) initiates this process by phosphorylating FBXO25 and HAX-1, thereby spatially directing nuclear FBXO25 to mitochondrial HAX-1. Our analyses in primary human MCL identify monoallelic loss of FBXO25 and stabilizing HAX1 phosphodegron mutations. Accordingly, FBXO25 re-expression in FBXO25-deleted MCL cells promotes cell death, whereas expression of the HAX-1 phosphodegron mutant inhibits apoptosis. In addition, knockdown of FBXO25 significantly accelerated lymphoma development in Eμ-Myc mice and in a human MCL xenotransplant model. Together we identify a PRKCD-dependent proapoptotic mechanism controlling HAX-1 stability, and we propose that FBXO25 functions as a haploinsufficient tumor suppressor and that HAX1 is a proto-oncogene in MCL.

Concepts: DNA, Genetics, Cancer, Adenosine triphosphate, Enzyme, Apoptosis, SCF complex, Mantle cell lymphoma


The Pam/Highwire/RPM-1 (PHR) proteins are key regulators of neuronal development that function in axon extension and guidance, termination of axon outgrowth, and synapse formation. Outside of development, the PHR proteins also regulate axon regeneration and Wallerian degeneration. The PHR proteins function in part by acting as ubiquitin ligases that degrade the Dual Leucine zipper-bearing Kinase (DLK). Here, we show that the Caenorhabditis elegans PHR protein, Regulator of Presynaptic Morphology 1 (RPM-1), also utilizes a phosphatase-based mechanism to regulate DLK-1. Using mass spectrometry, we identified Protein Phosphatase Magnesium/Manganese dependent 2 (PPM-2) as a novel RPM-1 binding protein. Genetic, transgenic, and biochemical studies indicated that PPM-2 functions coordinately with the ubiquitin ligase activity of RPM-1 and the F-box protein FSN-1 to negatively regulate DLK-1. PPM-2 acts on S874 of DLK-1, a residue implicated in regulation of DLK-1 binding to a short, inhibitory isoform of DLK-1 (DLK-1S). Our study demonstrates that PHR proteins function through both phosphatase and ubiquitin ligase mechanisms to inhibit DLK. Thus, PHR proteins are potentially more accurate and sensitive regulators of DLK than originally thought. Our results also highlight an important and expanding role for the PP2C phosphatase family in neuronal development.

Concepts: Nervous system, Proteins, Protein, Protein structure, Neuron, Enzyme, Caenorhabditis elegans, SCF complex


E3 ubiquitin ligases are key enzymes within the ubiquitin proteasome system which catalyze the ubiquitination of proteins, targeting them for proteasomal degradation. E3 ligases are gaining importance as targets to small molecules, both for direct inhibition and to be hijacked to induce the degradation of non-native neo-substrates using bivalent compounds known as PROTACs (for ‘proteolysis-targeting chimeras’). We describe Homo-PROTACs as an approach to dimerize an E3 ligase to trigger its suicide-type chemical knockdown inside cells. We provide proof-of-concept of Homo-PROTACs using diverse molecules composed of two instances of a ligand for the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) E3 ligase. The most active compound, CM11, dimerizes VHL with high avidity in vitro and induces potent, rapid and proteasome-dependent self-degradation of VHL in different cell lines, in a highly isoform-selective fashion and without triggering a hypoxic response. This approach offers a novel chemical probe for selective VHL knockdown, and demonstrates the potential for a new modality of chemical intervention on E3 ligases.Targeting the ubiquitin proteasome system to modulate protein homeostasis using small molecules has promising therapeutic potential. Here the authors describe Homo-PROTACS: small molecules that can induce the homo-dimerization of E3 ubiquitin ligases and cause their proteasome-dependent degradation.

Concepts: Protein, Enzyme, Proteasome, Ubiquitin, Ubiquitin ligase, SCF complex, Ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme, Ubiquitin-activating enzyme


The oncogenic AKT kinase is a key regulator of apoptosis, cell growth, and cell-cycle progression. Despite its important role in proliferation, it remains largely unknown how AKT is mechanistically linked to the cell cycle. We show here that cyclin F, a substrate receptor F-box protein for the SCF (Skp1/Cul1/F-box) family of E3 ubiquitin ligases, is a bona fide AKT substrate. Cyclin F expression oscillates throughout the cell cycle, a rare feature among the 69 human F-box proteins, and all of its known substrates are involved in proliferation. AKT phosphorylation of cyclin F enhances its stability and promotes assembly into productive E3 ligase complexes. Importantly, expression of mutant versions of cyclin F that cannot be phosphorylated by AKT impair cell-cycle entry. Our data suggest that cyclin F transmits mitogen signaling through AKT to the core cell-cycle machinery. This discovery has potential implications for proliferative control in malignancies where AKT is activated.

Concepts: Proteins, Protein, Signal transduction, Enzyme, Cell cycle, Cyclin-dependent kinase, Proteasome, SCF complex