Peter S Brzovic

University of Washington Seattle, Seattle, Washington, United States

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Publications (41)264 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Ubiquitination of the αN-terminus of protein substrates has been reported sporadically since the early 1980s. However, the identity of an enzyme responsible for this unique ubiquitin (Ub) modification has only recently been elucidated. We show the Ub-conjugating enzyme (E2) Ube2w uses a unique mechanism to facilitate the specific ubiquitination of the α-amino group of its substrates that involves recognition of backbone atoms of intrinsically disordered N termini. We present the NMR-based solution ensemble of full-length Ube2w that reveals a structural architecture unlike that of any other E2 in which its C terminus is partly disordered and flexible to accommodate variable substrate N termini. Flexibility of the substrate is critical for recognition by Ube2w, and either point mutations in or the removal of the flexible C terminus of Ube2w inhibits substrate binding and modification. Mechanistic insights reported here provide guiding principles for future efforts to define the N-terminal ubiquitome in cells.
    Nature Chemical Biology 12/2014; · 12.95 Impact Factor
  • Kaitlyn Tanner, Peter Brzovic, John R. Rohde
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    ABSTRACT: Shigella species are the etiological agents of shigellosis, a severe diarrheal disease that is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Shigellosis causes massive colonic destruction, high fever, and a bloody diarrhea. Shigella pathogenesis is tightly linked to the ability of the bacterium to invade and replicate intracellularly within the colonic epithelium. Shigella use a Type Three Secretion System to deliver its effector proteins into the cytosol of infected cells. Among the repertoire of Shigella effectors, many target components of the actin cytoskeleton to promote bacterial entry. An emerging alternate theme for effector function is the targeting of the host ubiquitin system. Ubiquitination is a post-translational modification restricted to eukaryotes and is involved in many essential host processes. By virtue of sheer number of ubiquitin-modulating effector proteins, it is clear that Shigella has invested heavily into subversion of the ubiquitin system. Understanding these host-pathogen interactions will inform us as to strategies used by successful pathogens and may also provide avenues for novel antimicrobial strategies.
    Cellular Microbiology 10/2014; · 4.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pathogenic bacteria introduce effector proteins directly into the cytosol of eukaryotic cells to promote invasion and colonization. OspG, a Shigella spp. effector kinase, plays a role in this process by helping to suppress the host inflammatory response. OspG has been reported to bind host E2 ubiquitin-conjugating enzymes activated with ubiquitin (E2~Ub), a key enzyme complex in ubiquitin transfer pathways. A co-crystal structure of the OspG/UbcH5c~Ub complex reveals that complex formation has important ramifications for the activity of both OspG and the UbcH5c~Ub conjugate. OspG is a minimal kinase domain containing only essential elements required for catalysis. UbcH5c~Ub binding stabilizes an active conformation of the kinase, greatly enhancing OspG kinase activity. In contrast, interaction with OspG stabilizes an extended, less reactive form of UbcH5c~Ub. Recognizing conserved E2 features, OspG can interact with at least ten distinct human E2s~Ub. Mouse oral infection studies indicate that E2~Ub conjugates act as novel regulators of OspG effector kinase function in eukaryotic host cells.
    The EMBO Journal 01/2014; · 10.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The biochemical and structural characterization of ubiquitin-conjugating enzymes (E2s) over the past 30 years has fostered important insights into ubiquitin transfer mechanisms. Although many of these enzymes share high sequence and structural conservation, their functional roles in the cell are decidedly diverse. Here, we report that the mono-ubiquitinating E2 UBE2W forms a homodimer using two distinct protein surfaces. Dimerization is primarily driven by residues in the ß-sheet region and Loops 4 and 7 of the catalytic domain. Mutation of two residues in the catalytic domain of UBE2W is capable of disrupting UBE2W homodimer formation, however, we find that dimerization of this E2 is not required for its ubiquitin transfer activity. In addition, residues in the C-terminal region, although not compulsory for the dimerization of UBE2W, play an ancillary role in the dimer interface. In all current E2 structures, the C-terminal helix of the UBC domain is at least 15Å away from the primary dimerization surface shown here for UBE2W. This leads to the proposal that the C-terminal region of UBE2W adopts a noncanonical position that places it closer to the UBC ß-sheet, providing the first indication that at least some E2s adopt C-terminal conformations different from the canonical structures observed to date.
    Cell biochemistry and biophysics 05/2013; · 3.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Although ubiquitination plays a critical role in virtually all cellular processes, mechanistic details of ubiquitin (Ub) transfer are still being defined. To identify the molecular determinants within E3 ligases that modulate activity, we scored each member of a library of nearly 100,000 protein variants of the murine ubiquitination factor E4B (Ube4b) U-box domain for auto-ubiquitination activity in the presence of the E2 UbcH5c. This assay identified mutations that enhance activity both in vitro and in cellular p53 degradation assays. The activity-enhancing mutations fall into two distinct mechanistic classes: One increases the U-box:E2-binding affinity, and the other allosterically stimulates the formation of catalytically active conformations of the E2∼Ub conjugate. The same mutations enhance E3 activity in the presence of another E2, Ube2w, implying a common allosteric mechanism, and therefore the general applicability of our observations to other E3s. A comparison of the E3 activity with the two different E2s identified an additional variant that exhibits E3:E2 specificity. Our results highlight the general utility of high-throughput mutagenesis in delineating the molecular basis of enzyme activity.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 03/2013; · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Despite the widespread importance of RING/U-box E3 ubiquitin ligases in ubiquitin (Ub) signaling, the mechanism by which this class of enzymes facilitates Ub transfer remains enigmatic. Here, we present a structural model for a RING/U-box E3:E2∼Ub complex poised for Ub transfer. The model and additional analyses reveal that E3 binding biases dynamic E2∼Ub ensembles toward closed conformations with enhanced reactivity for substrate lysines. We identify a key hydrogen bond between a highly conserved E3 side chain and an E2 backbone carbonyl, observed in all structures of active RING/U-Box E3/E2 pairs, as the linchpin for allosteric activation of E2∼Ub. The conformational biasing mechanism is generalizable across diverse E2s and RING/U-box E3s, but is not shared by HECT-type E3s. The results provide a structural model for a RING/U-box E3:E2∼Ub ligase complex and identify the long sought-after source of allostery for RING/U-Box activation of E2∼Ub conjugates.
    Molecular cell 08/2012; 47(6):933-42. · 14.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Salmonella enterica serovar typhimurium translocates a glycerophospholipid:cholesterol acyltransferase (SseJ) into the host cytosol after its entry into mammalian cells. SseJ is recruited to the cytoplasmic face of the host cell phagosome membrane where it is activated upon binding the small GTPase, RhoA. SseJ is regulated similarly to cognate eukaryotic effectors, as only the GTP-bound form of RhoA family members stimulates enzymatic activity. Using NMR and biochemistry, this work demonstrates that SseJ competes effectively with Rhotekin, ROCK, and PKN1 in binding to a similar RhoA surface. The RhoA surface that binds SseJ includes the regulatory switch regions that control activation of mammalian effectors. These data were used to create RhoA mutants with altered SseJ binding and activation. This structure-function analysis supports a model in which SseJ activation occurs predominantly through binding to residues within switch region II. We further defined the nature of the interaction between SseJ and RhoA by constructing SseJ mutants in the RhoA binding surface. These data indicate that SseJ binding to RhoA is required for recruitment of SseJ to the endosomal network and for full Salmonella virulence for inbred susceptible mice, indicating that regulation of SseJ by small GTPases is an important virulence strategy of this bacterial pathogen. The dependence of a bacterial effector on regulation by a mammalian GTPase defines further how intimately host pathogen interactions have coevolved through similar and divergent evolutionary strategies.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 06/2012; 287(35):29654-63. · 4.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ubiquitylation entails the concerted action of E1, E2, and E3 enzymes. We recently reported that OTUB1, a deubiquitylase, inhibits the DNA damage response independently of its isopeptidase activity. OTUB1 does so by blocking ubiquitin transfer by UBC13, the cognate E2 enzyme for RNF168. OTUB1 also inhibits E2s of the UBE2D and UBE2E families. Here we elucidate the structural mechanism by which OTUB1 binds E2s to inhibit ubiquitin transfer. OTUB1 recognizes ubiquitin-charged E2s through contacts with both donor ubiquitin and the E2 enzyme. Surprisingly, free ubiquitin associates with the canonical distal ubiquitin-binding site on OTUB1 to promote formation of the inhibited E2 complex. Lys48 of donor ubiquitin lies near the OTUB1 catalytic site and the C terminus of free ubiquitin, a configuration that mimics the products of Lys48-linked ubiquitin chain cleavage. OTUB1 therefore co-opts Lys48-linked ubiquitin chain recognition to suppress ubiquitin conjugation and the DNA damage response.
    Molecular cell 02/2012; 45(3):384-97. · 14.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The structural basis for binding of the acidic transcription activator Gcn4 and one activator-binding domain of the Mediator subunit Gal11/Med15 was examined by NMR. Gal11 activator-binding domain 1 has a four-helix fold with a small shallow hydrophobic cleft at its center. In the bound complex, eight residues of Gcn4 adopt a helical conformation, allowing three Gcn4 aromatic/aliphatic residues to insert into the Gal11 cleft. The protein-protein interface is dynamic and surprisingly simple, involving only hydrophobic interactions. This allows Gcn4 to bind Gal11 in multiple conformations and orientations, an example of a "fuzzy" complex, where the Gcn4-Gal11 interface cannot be described by a single conformation. Gcn4 uses a similar mechanism to bind two other unrelated activator-binding domains. Functional studies in yeast show the importance of residues at the protein interface, define the minimal requirements for a functional activator, and suggest a mechanism by which activators bind to multiple unrelated targets.
    Molecular cell 12/2011; 44(6):942-53. · 14.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Although the functional interaction between ubiquitin-conjugating enzymes (E2s) and ubiquitin ligases (E3s) is essential in ubiquitin (Ub) signalling, the criteria that define an active E2-E3 pair are not well established. The human E2 UBCH7 (also known as UBE2L3) shows broad specificity for HECT-type E3s, but often fails to function with RING E3s in vitro despite forming specific complexes. Structural comparisons of inactive UBCH7-RING complexes with active UBCH5-RING complexes reveal no defining differences, highlighting a gap in our understanding of Ub transfer. Here we show that, unlike many E2s that transfer Ub with RINGs, UBCH7 lacks intrinsic, E3-independent reactivity with lysine, explaining its preference for HECTs. Despite lacking lysine reactivity, UBCH7 exhibits activity with the RING-in-between-RING (RBR) family of E3s that includes parkin (also known as PARK2) and human homologue of ariadne (HHARI; also known as ARIH1). Found in all eukaryotes, RBRs regulate processes such as translation and immune signalling. RBRs contain a canonical C3HC4-type RING, followed by two conserved Cys/His-rich Zn(2+)-binding domains, in-between-RING (IBR) and RING2 domains, which together define this E3 family. We show that RBRs function like RING/HECT hybrids: they bind E2s via a RING domain, but transfer Ub through an obligate thioester-linked Ub (denoted ∼Ub), requiring a conserved cysteine residue in RING2. Our results define the functional cadre of E3s for UBCH7, an E2 involved in cell proliferation and immune function, and indicate a novel mechanism for an entire class of E3s.
    Nature 06/2011; 474(7349):105-8. · 42.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The ubiquitin (Ub)-conjugating enzymes Ubc4 and Ubc5 are involved in a variety of ubiquitination pathways in yeast, including Rsp5- and anaphase-promoting complex (APC)-mediated pathways. We have found the double deletion of UBC4 and UBC5 genes in yeast to be lethal. To investigate the essential pathway disrupted by the ubc4/ubc5 deletion, several point mutations were inserted in Ubc4. The Ubc4 active site mutation C86A and the E3-binding mutations A97D and F63A were both unable to rescue the lethal phenotype, indicating that an active E3/E2∼Ub complex is required for the essential function of Ubc4/Ubc5. A mutation that specifically eliminates RING E3-catalyzed isopeptide formation but not HECT E3 transthiolation (N78S-Ubc4) rescued the lethal phenotype. Thus, the essential redundant function performed by Ubc4 and Ubc5 in yeast is with a HECT-type E3, likely the only essential HECT in yeast, Rsp5. Our results also suggest that Ubc1 can weakly replace Ubc4 to transfer mono-Ub with APC, but Ubc4 cannot replace Ubc1 for poly-Ub chain extension on APC substrates. Finally, the backside Ub-binding mutant S23R-Ubc4 has no observable effect in yeast. Together, our results are consistent with a model in which Ubc4 and Ubc5 are 1) the primary E2s for Rsp5 in yeast and 2) act as monoubiquitinating E2s in RING E3-catalyzed pathways, in contrast to the processive human ortholog UbcH5.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 02/2011; 286(17):15165-70. · 4.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ubiquitination of proteins provides a powerful and versatile post-translational signal in the eukaryotic cell. The formation of a thioester bond between ubiquitin (Ub) and the active site of a ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme (E2) is critical for the transfer of Ub to substrates. Assembly of a functional ubiquitin ligase (E3) complex poised for Ub transfer involves recognition and binding of an E2∼Ub conjugate. Therefore, full characterization of the structure and dynamics of E2∼Ub conjugates is required for further mechanistic understanding of Ub transfer reactions. Here we present characterization of the dynamic behavior of E2∼Ub conjugates of two human enzymes, UbcH5c∼Ub and Ubc13∼Ub, in solution as determined by nuclear magnetic resonance and small-angle X-ray scattering. Within each conjugate, Ub retains great flexibility with respect to the E2, indicative of highly dynamic species that adopt manifold orientations. The population distribution of Ub conformations is dictated by the identity of the E2: the UbcH5c∼Ub conjugate populates an array of extended conformations, and the population of Ubc13∼Ub conjugates favors a closed conformation in which the hydrophobic surface of Ub faces helix 2 of Ubc13. We propose that the varied conformations adopted by Ub represent available binding modes of the E2∼Ub species and thus provide insight into the diverse E2∼Ub protein interactome, particularly with regard to interaction with Ub ligases.
    Biochemistry 02/2011; 50(10):1624-33. · 3.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Gram-negative bacteria deliver a cadre of virulence factors directly into the cytoplasm of eukaryotic host cells to promote pathogenesis and/or commensalism. Recently, families of virulence proteins have been recognized that function as E3 Ubiquitin-ligases. How these bacterial ligases integrate into the ubiquitin (Ub) signaling pathways of the host and how they differ functionally from endogenous eukaryotic E3s is not known. Here we show that the bacterial E3 SspH2 from S. typhimurium selectively binds the human UbcH5 ~ Ub conjugate recognizing regions of both UbcH5 and Ub subunits. The surface of the E2 UbcH5 involved in this interaction differs substantially from that defined for other E2/E3 complexes involving eukaryotic E3-ligases. In vitro, SspH2 directs the synthesis of K48-linked poly-Ub chains, suggesting that cellular protein targets of SspH2-catalyzed Ub transfer are destined for proteasomal destruction. Unexpectedly, we found that intermediates in SspH2-directed reactions are activated poly-Ub chains directly tethered to the UbcH5 active site (UbcH5 ~ Ub(n)). Rapid generation of UbcH5 ~ Ub(n) may allow for bacterially directed modification of eukaryotic target proteins with a completed poly-Ub chain, efficiently tagging host targets for destruction.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 02/2010; 107(7):2848-53. · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Substantial evidence has accumulated indicating a significant role for oligomerization in the function of E3 ubiquitin ligases. Among the many characterized E3 ligases, the yeast U-box protein Ufd2 and its mammalian homologue E4B appear to be unique in functioning as monomers. An E4B U-box domain construct (E4BU) has been subcloned, overexpressed in Escherichia coli, and purified, which enabled determination of a high-resolution NMR solution structure and detailed biophysical analysis. E4BU is a stable monomeric protein that folds into the same structure observed for other structurally characterized U-box domain homodimers. Multiple sequence alignment combined with comparative structural analysis reveals substitutions in the sequence that inhibit dimerization. The interaction between E4BU and the E2 conjugating enzyme UbcH5c has been mapped using NMR, and these data have been used to generate a structural model for the complex. The E2 binding site is found to be similar to that observed for dimeric U-box and RING domain E3 ligases. Despite the inability to dimerize, E4BU was found to be active in a standard autoubiquitination assay. The structure of E4BU and its ability to function as a monomer are discussed in light of the ubiquitous observation of U-box and RING domain oligomerization.
    Biochemistry 12/2009; 49(2):347-55. · 3.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BARD1 is the constitutive nuclear partner to the breast and ovarian cancer-specific tumor suppressor BRCA1. Together, they form a heterodimeric complex responsible for maintaining genomic stability through nuclear functions involving DNA damage signaling and repair, transcriptional regulation, and cell cycle control. We report the 2.0A structure of the BARD1 ankyrin repeat domain. The structure includes four ankyrin repeats with a non-canonical C-terminal capping ankyrin repeat and a well ordered extended loop preceding the first repeat. Conserved surface features show an acidic patch and an acidic pocket along the surface typically used by ankyrin repeat domains for binding cognate proteins. We also demonstrate that two reported mutations, N470S and V507M, in the ankyrin repeat domain do not result in observable structural defects. These results provide a structural basis for exploring the biological function of the ankyrin repeat domain and for modeling BARD1 isoforms.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 08/2008; 283(30):21179-86. · 4.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5) controls intracellular levels of cGMP through its regulation of cGMP hydrolysis. Hydrolytic activity of the C-terminal catalytic domain is increased by cGMP binding to the N-terminal GAF A domain. We present the NMR solution structure of the cGMP-bound PDE5A GAF A domain. The cGMP orientation in the buried binding pocket was defined through 37 intermolecular nuclear Overhauser effects. Comparison with GAF domains from PDE2A and adenylyl cyclase cyaB2 reveals a conserved overall domain fold of a six-stranded beta-sheet and four alpha-helices that form a well defined cGMP binding pocket. However, the nucleotide coordination is distinct with a series of altered binding contacts. The structure suggests that nucleotide binding specificity is provided by Asp-196, which is positioned to form two hydrogen bonds to the guanine ring of cGMP. An alanine mutation of Asp-196 disrupts cGMP binding and increases cAMP affinity in constructs containing only GAF A causing an altered cAMP-bound structural conformation. NMR studies on the tandem GAF domains reveal a flexible GAF A domain in the absence of cGMP, and indicate a large conformational change upon ligand binding. Furthermore, we identify a region of approximately 20 residues directly N-terminal of GAF A as critical for tight dimerization of the tandem GAF domains. The features of the PDE5 regulatory domain revealed here provide an initial structural basis for future investigations of the regulatory mechanism of PDE5 and the design of GAF-specific regulators of PDE5 function.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 07/2008; 283(33):22749-59. · 4.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: An E3 ubiquitin ligase mediates the transfer of activated ubiquitin from an E2 ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme to its substrate lysine residues. Using a structure-based, yeast two-hybrid strategy, we discovered six previously unidentified interactions between the human heterodimeric RING E3 BRCA1-BARD1 and the human E2s UbcH6, Ube2e2, UbcM2, Ubc13, Ube2k and Ube2w. All six E2s bind directly to the BRCA1 RING motif and are active with BRCA1-BARD1 for autoubiquitination in vitro. Four of the E2s direct monoubiquitination of BRCA1. Ubc13-Mms2 and Ube2k direct the synthesis of Lys63- or Lys48-linked ubiquitin chains on BRCA1 and require an acceptor ubiquitin attached to BRCA1. Differences between the mono- and polyubiquitination activities of the BRCA1-interacting E2s correlate with their ability to bind ubiquitin noncovalently at a site distal to the active site. Thus, BRCA1 has the ability to direct the synthesis of specific polyubiquitin chain linkages, depending on the E2 bound to its RING.
    Nature Structural & Molecular Biology 11/2007; 14(10):941-8. · 11.63 Impact Factor
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    Peter S Brzovic, Rachel E Klevit
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    ABSTRACT: Protein ubiquitination is a regulatory process that influences nearly every aspect of eukaryotic cell biology. Pathways that range from cell-cycle progression and differentiation to DNA repair to vesicle budding all rely on regulated modification of target proteins by ubiquitin. Target proteins can be tagged by a single molecule of ubiquitin or modified by ubiquitin polymers that can vary in length and linkage specificity, and these variations influence how ubiquitination signals are interpreted. Surprisingly, little is understood regarding mechanisms of protein ubiquitination and how poly-ubiquitin chains are synthesized. Simple models to explain ubiquitin transfer have dominated the literature, but recent work suggests basic assumptions as to how proteins assemble to facilitate protein ubiquitination and poly-ubiquitin chain synthesis should be reexamined. This is particularly necessary for understanding the roles played by E2 ubiquitin-conjugating enzymes, a central protein component in all ubiquitin transfer reactions. In particular, UbcH5, a canonical E2 protein that is active in a broad number of in vitro ubiquitin transfer reactions, is capable of binding ubiquitin noncovalently on a surface distinct from its active site. This unique property allows activated UbcH5 approximately Ub complexes to self-assemble and has a profound influence on poly-ubiquitin chain synthesis.
    Cell cycle (Georgetown, Tex.) 01/2007; 5(24):2867-73. · 5.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Protein ubiquitination is a powerful regulatory modification that influences nearly every aspect of eukaryotic cell biology. The general pathway for ubiquitin (Ub) modification requires the sequential activities of a Ub-activating enzyme (E1), a Ub transfer enzyme (E2), and a Ub ligase (E3). The E2 must recognize both the E1 and a cognate E3 in addition to carrying activated Ub. These central functions are performed by a topologically conserved alpha/beta-fold core domain of approximately 150 residues shared by all E2s. However, as presented herein, the UbcH5 family of E2s can also bind Ub noncovalently on a surface well removed from the E2 active site. We present the solution structure of the UbcH5c/Ub noncovalent complex and demonstrate that this noncovalent interaction permits self-assembly of activated UbcH5c approximately Ub molecules. Self-assembly has profound consequences for the processive formation of polyubiquitin (poly-Ub) chains in ubiquitination reactions directed by the breast and ovarian cancer tumor susceptibility protein BRCA1.
    Molecular Cell 04/2006; 21(6):873-80. · 14.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BRCA1 is a breast and ovarian cancer tumor suppressor protein that associates with BARD1 to form a RINGRING heterodimer. The BRCA1BARD1 RING complex functions as an ubiquitin (Ub) ligase with activity substantially greater than individual BRCA1 or BARD1 subunits. By using NMR spectroscopy and site-directed mutagenesis, we have mapped the binding site on the BRCA1BARD1 heterodimer for the Ub-conjugating enzyme UbcH5c. The results demonstrate that UbcH5c binds only to the BRCA1 RING domain and not the BARD1 RING. The binding interface is formed by the first and second Zn(2+)-loops and central alpha-helix of the BRCA1 RING domain, a region disrupted by cancer-predisposing mutations. Unexpectedly, a second Ub-conjugating enzyme, UbcH7, also interacts with the BRCA1BARD1 complex with similar affinity, although it is not active in Ub-ligase activity assays. Thus, binding alone is not sufficient for BRCA1-dependent Ub-ligase activity.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 06/2003; 100(10):5646-51. · 9.81 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
264.00 Total Impact Points


  • 1995–2014
    • University of Washington Seattle
      • • Department of Biochemistry
      • • Department of Immunology
      • • Division of Medical Genetics
      Seattle, Washington, United States
  • 2013
    • Howard Hughes Medical Institute
      Ashburn, Virginia, United States
  • 1990–1996
    • University of California, Riverside
      • Department of Biochemistry
      Riverside, CA, United States
  • 1990–1991
    • University of Georgia
      • Department of Chemistry
      Athens, GA, United States