Nathan W Pierce

California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, United States

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Publications (3)102.99 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The modular SCF (Skp1, cullin, and F box) ubiquitin ligases feature a large family of F box protein substrate receptors that enable recognition of diverse targets. However, how the repertoire of SCF complexes is sustained remains unclear. Real-time measurements of formation and disassembly indicate that SCFFbxw7 is extraordinarily stable, but, in the Nedd8-deconjugated state, the cullin-binding protein Cand1 augments its dissociation by one-million-fold. Binding and ubiquitylation assays show that Cand1 is a protein exchange factor that accelerates the rate at which Cul1-Rbx1 equilibrates with multiple F box protein-Skp1 modules. Depletion of Cand1 from cells impedes recruitment of new F box proteins to pre-existing Cul1 and profoundly alters the cellular landscape of SCF complexes. We suggest that catalyzed protein exchange may be a general feature of dynamic macromolecular machines and propose a hypothesis for how substrates, Nedd8, and Cand1 collaborate to regulate the cellular repertoire of SCF complexes.
    Cell 02/2013; · 31.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The target of rapamycin (TOR) plays a central role in eukaryotic cell growth control. With prevalent hyperactivation of the mammalian TOR (mTOR) pathway in human cancers, strategies to enhance TOR pathway inhibition are needed. We used a yeast-based screen to identify small-molecule enhancers of rapamycin (SMERs) and discovered an inhibitor (SMER3) of the Skp1-Cullin-F-box (SCF)(Met30) ubiquitin ligase, a member of the SCF E3-ligase family, which regulates diverse cellular processes including transcription, cell-cycle control and immune response. We show here that SMER3 inhibits SCF(Met30) in vivo and in vitro, but not the closely related SCF(Cdc4). Furthermore, we demonstrate that SMER3 diminishes binding of the F-box subunit Met30 to the SCF core complex in vivo and show evidence for SMER3 directly binding to Met30. Our results show that there is no fundamental barrier to obtaining specific inhibitors to modulate function of individual SCF complexes.
    Nature Biotechnology 07/2010; 28(7):738-42. · 32.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The pathway by which ubiquitin chains are generated on substrate through a cascade of enzymes consisting of an E1, E2 and E3 remains unclear. Multiple distinct models involving chain assembly on E2 or substrate have been proposed. However, the speed and complexity of the reaction have precluded direct experimental tests to distinguish between potential pathways. Here we introduce new theoretical and experimental methodologies to address both limitations. A quantitative framework based on product distribution predicts that the really interesting new gene (RING) E3 enzymes SCF(Cdc4) and SCF(beta-TrCP) work with the E2 Cdc34 to build polyubiquitin chains on substrates by sequential transfers of single ubiquitins. Measurements with millisecond time resolution directly demonstrate that substrate polyubiquitylation proceeds sequentially. Our results present an unprecedented glimpse into the mechanism of RING ubiquitin ligases and illuminate the quantitative parameters that underlie the rate and pattern of ubiquitin chain assembly.
    Nature 12/2009; 462(7273):615-9. · 38.60 Impact Factor