Peter S Brzovic

University of Washington Seattle, Seattle, Washington, United States

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Publications (60)319.55 Total impact

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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ubiquitin-conjugating enzymes (E2s) are the central players in the trio of enzymes responsible for the attachment of ubiquitin (Ub) to cellular proteins. Humans have ∼40 E2s that are involved in the transfer of Ub or Ub-like (Ubl) proteins (e.g., SUMO and NEDD8). Although the majority of E2s are only twice the size of Ub, this remarkable family of enzymes performs a variety of functional roles. In this review, we summarize common functional and structural features that define unifying themes among E2s and highlight emerging concepts in the mechanism and regulation of E2s.Cell Research advance online publication 22 March 2016; doi:10.1038/cr.2016.35.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2016 · Cell Research
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated (HCN) ion channels play an important role in regulating electrical activity in the heart and brain. They are gated by the binding of cyclic nucleotides to a conserved, intracellular cyclic nucleotide-binding domain (CNBD), which is connected to the channel pore by a C-linker region. Binding of cyclic nucleotides increases the rate and extent of channel activation and shifts it to less hyperpolarized voltages. We probed the allosteric mechanism of different cyclic nucleotides on the CNBD and on channel gating. Electrophysiology experiments showed that cAMP, cGMP, and cCMP were effective agonists of the channel and produced similar increases in the extent of channel activation. In contrast, electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) on the isolated CNBD indicated that the induced conformational changes and the degrees of stabilization of the active conformation differed for the three cyclic nucleotides. We explain these results with a model where different allosteric mechanisms in the CNBD all converge to have the same effect on the C-linker and render all three cyclic nucleotides similarly potent activators of the channel.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Journal of Biological Chemistry
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    Dataset: OTUB1-2012
    Full-text · Dataset · Jul 2015
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Since its discovery as a post-translational signal for protein degradation, our understanding of ubiquitin (Ub) has vastly evolved. Today, we recognize that the role of Ub signaling is expansive and encompasses diverse processes including cell division, the DNA damage response, cellular immune signaling, and even organismal development. With such a wide range of functions comes a wide range of regulatory mechanisms that control the activity of the ubiquitylation machinery. Ub attachment to substrates occurs through the sequential action of three classes of enzymes, E1s, E2s, and E3s. In humans, there are 2 E1s, ~35 E2s, and hundreds of E3s that work to attach Ub to thousands of cellular substrates. Regulation of ubiquitylation can occur at each stage of the stepwise Ub transfer process and substrates can also impact their own modification. Recent studies have revealed elegant mechanisms that have evolved to control the activity of the enzymes involved. In this mini-review we highlight recent discoveries that define some of the various mechanisms by which the activities of E3-Ub ligases are regulated. Copyright © 2015, The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2015 · Journal of Biological Chemistry
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    Full-text · Dataset · Apr 2015
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated (HCN) ion channels underlie the cationic Ih current present in many neurons. The direct binding of cyclic AMP to HCN channels increases the rate and extent of channel opening and results in a depolarizing shift in the voltage dependence of activation. TRIP8b is an accessory protein that regulates the cell surface expression and dendritic localization of HCN channels and reduces the cyclic nucleotide dependence of these channels. Here, we use electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) to show that TRIP8b binds to the apo state of the cyclic nucleotide binding domain (CNBD) of HCN2 channels without changing the overall domain structure. With EPR and nuclear magnetic resonance, we locate TRIP8b relative to the HCN channel and identify the binding interface on the CNBD. These data provide a structural framework for understanding how TRIP8b regulates the cyclic nucleotide dependence of HCN channels. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2015 · Structure
  • No preview · Article · Jan 2015 · Biophysical Journal
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] 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.
    Preview · Article · Dec 2014 · Nature Chemical Biology
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    Kaitlyn Tanner · Peter Brzovic · John R. Rohde
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] 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.
    Preview · Article · Oct 2014 · Cellular Microbiology
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] 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.
    Preview · Article · Mar 2014 · The EMBO Journal
  • Vinayak Vittal · Dawn M Wenzel · Peter S Brzovic · Rachel E Klevit
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] 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.
    No preview · Article · May 2013 · Cell biochemistry and biophysics
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] 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.
    Preview · Article · Mar 2013 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] 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.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2012 · Molecular cell
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] 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.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2012 · Journal of Biological Chemistry
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] 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.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2012 · Molecular cell
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] 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.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2011 · Molecular cell
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] 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.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2011 · Nature
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    Preview · Dataset · May 2011
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    Preview · Dataset · May 2011
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    Preview · Dataset · May 2011

Publication Stats

2k Citations
319.55 Total Impact Points


  • 1995-2015
    • University of Washington Seattle
      • Department of Biochemistry
      Seattle, Washington, United States
  • 1994-1996
    • University of California, Riverside
      • Department of Biochemistry
      Riverside, California, United States