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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


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


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


Faithful DNA replication and repair requires the activity of cullin 4-based E3 ubiquitin ligases (CRL4), but the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. The budding yeast Cul4 homologue, Rtt101, in complex with the linker Mms1 and the putative substrate adaptor Mms22 promotes progression of replication forks through damaged DNA. Here we characterized the interactome of Mms22 and found that the Rtt101Mms22 ligase associates with the replisome progression complex during S-phase via the amino-terminal WD40 domain of Ctf4. Moreover, genetic screening for suppressors of the genotoxic sensitivity of rtt101Δ cells identified a cluster of replication proteins, among them a component of the fork protection complex, Mrc1. In contrast to rtt101Δ and mms22Δ cells, mrc1Δ rtt101Δ and mrc1Δ mms22Δ double mutants complete DNA replication upon replication stress by facilitating the repair/restart of stalled replication forks using a Rad52-dependent mechanism. Our results suggest that the Rtt101Mms22 E3 ligase does not induce Mrc1 degradation, but specifically counteracts Mrc1’s replicative function, possibly by modulating its interaction with the CMG (Cdc45-MCM-GINS) complex at stalled forks.

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


Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder associated with amyloid accumulation and autophagic changes. Parkin is an E3 ubiquitin ligase involved in proteasomal and autophagic clearance. We previously demonstrated decreased parkin solubility and interaction with the key autophagy enzyme beclin-1 in AD, but tyrosine kinase inhibition restored parkin-beclin-1 interaction. In the current studies, we determined the mechanisms of nilotinib-induced parkin-beclin-1 interaction, which leads to amyloid clearance. Nilotinib increased endogenous parkin levels and ubiquitination, which may enhance parkin recycling via the proteasome, leading to increased activity and interaction with beclin-1. Parkin solubility was decreased and autophagy was altered in amyloid expressing mice, suggesting that amyloid stress affects parkin stability, leading to failure of protein clearance via the lysosome. Isolation of autophagic vacuoles revealed amyloid and parkin accumulation in autophagic compartments but nilotinib decreased insoluble parkin levels and facilitated amyloid deposition into lysosomes in wild type, but not parkin(-/-) mice, further underscoring an essential role for endogenous parkin in amyloid clearance. These results suggest that nilotinib boosts the autophagic machinery, leading to increased level of endogenous parkin that undergoes ubiquitination and interacts with beclin-1 to facilitate amyloid clearance. These data suggest that nilotinib-mediated autophagic changes may trigger parkin response via increased protein levels, providing a therapeutic strategy to reduce Aβ and Tau in AD.

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