[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Expression of the CDK inhibitor p21(Cip1) is tightly regulated by signals that control cell division. p21 is an unstable protein that is degraded by the proteasome; however, the pathway that leads to proteasomal degradation of p21 has proven to be enigmatic. An important issue is whether proteasomal degradation of p21 occurs independently of ubiquitylation or, alternatively, whether ubiquitylation on its N terminus is crucial. We resolve this uncertainty by showing that endogenous cellular p21 is completely acetylated at its amino terminus and is therefore not a substrate for N-ubiquitylation. We further show that inactivation of essential components of the ubiquitylation machinery does not directly impact endogenous p21 degradation. Our results underscore the importance of N-acetylation in restricting N-ubiquitylation and show, in particular, that ubiquitylation of endogenous p21 either at internal lysines or on the N terminus is unlikely to control its degradation by the proteasome.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Autophosphorylation-triggered ubiquitination has been proposed to be the major pathway regulating cyclin E protein abundance: phosphorylation of cyclin E on T380 by its associated CDK allows binding to the receptor subunit, Fbw7, of the SCFFbw7 ubiquitin ligase. We have tested this model in vivo and found it to be an inadequate representation of the pathways that regulate cyclin E degradation. We show that assembly of cyclin E into cyclin E-Cdk2 complexes is required in vivo for turnover by the Fbw7 pathway; that Cdk2 activity is required for cyclin E turnover in vivo because it phosphorylates S384; that phosphorylation of T380 in vivo does not require Cdk2 and is mediated primarily by GSK3; and that two additional phosphorylation sites, T62 and S372, are also required for turnover. Thus, cyclin E turnover is controlled by multiple biological inputs and cannot be understood in terms of autophosphorylation alone.