skip to main content

Title: Ubiquitin-Mimicking Peptides Transfer Differentiates by E1 and E2 Enzymes
Ubiquitin and ubiquitin like proteins (UBLs) play key roles in eukaryotes. These proteins are attached to their target proteins through an E1-E2-E3 cascade and modify the functions of these proteins. Since the discovery of ubiquitin, several UBLs have been identified, including Nedd8, SUMO, ISG15, and Atg8. Ubiquitin and UBLs share a similar three-dimensional structure: β -grasp fold and an X-X-[R/A/E/K]-X-X-[G/X]-G motif at the C-terminus. We have previously reported that ubiquitin, Nedd8, and SUMO mimicking peptides which all contain the conserved motif X-X-[R/A/E/K]-X-X-[G/X]-G still retained their reactivity toward their corresponding E1, E2, and E3 enzymes. In our current study, we investigated whether such C-terminal peptides could still be transferred onto related pathway enzymes to probe the function of these enzymes when they are fused with a protein. By bioinformatic search of protein databases, we selected eight proteins carrying the X-X-[R/A/E/K]-X-X-[G/X]-G motif at the C-terminus of the β -grasp fold. We synthesized the C-terminal sequences of these candidates as short peptides and found that three of them showed significant reactivity with the ubiquitin E1 enzyme Ube1. We next fused the three reactive short peptides to three different protein frames, including their respective native protein frames, a ubiquitin frame and a peptidyl carrier protein (PCP) frame, and measured the reactivities of these peptide-fused proteins with Ube1. Peptide-fused proteins on ubiquitin and PCP frames showed obvious reactivity with Ube1. However, when we measured E2 UbcH7 transfer, we found that the PCP-peptide fusions lost their reactivity with UbcH7. Taken together, these results suggested that the recognition of E2 enzymes with peptide-fused proteins depended not only on the C-terminal sequences of the ubiquitin-mimicking peptides, but also on the overall structures of the protein frames.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
BioMed Research International
Page Range / eLocation ID:
1 to 8
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Protein degradation through the Ubiquitin (Ub)-26S Proteasome System (UPS) is a major gene expression regulatory pathway in plants. In this pathway, the 76-amino acid Ub proteins are covalently linked onto a large array of UPS substrates with the help of three enzymes (E1 activating, E2 conjugating, and E3 ligating enzymes) and direct them for turnover in the 26S proteasome complex. The S-phase Kinase-associated Protein 1 (Skp1), CUL1, F-box (FBX) protein (SCF) complexes have been identified as the largest E3 ligase group in plants due to the dramatic number expansion of the FBX genes in plant genomes. Since it is the FBX proteins that recognize and determine the specificity of SCF substrates, much effort has been done to characterize their genomic, physiological, and biochemical roles in the past two decades of functional genomic studies. However, the sheer size and high sequence diversity of the FBX gene family demands new approaches to uncover unknown functions. In this work, we first identified 82 known FBX members that have been functionally characterized up to date in Arabidopsis thaliana . Through comparing the genomic structure, evolutionary selection, expression patterns, domain compositions, and functional activities between known and unknown FBX gene members, we developed a neural network machine learning approach to predict whether an unknown FBX member is likely functionally active in Arabidopsis, thereby facilitating its future functional characterization. 
    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    Protein labeling strategies have been explored for decades to study protein structure, function, and regulation. Fluorescent labeling of a protein enables the study of protein‐protein interactions through biophysical methods such as microscale thermophoresis (MST). MST measures the directed motion of a fluorescently labeled protein in response to microscopic temperature gradients, and the protein's thermal mobility can be used to determine binding affinity. However, the stoichiometry and site specificity of fluorescent labeling are hard to control, and heterogeneous labeling can generate inaccuracies in binding measurements. Here, we describe an easy‐to‐apply protocol for high‐stoichiometric, site‐specific labeling of a protein at its N‐terminus withN‐hydroxysuccinimide (NHS) esters as a means to measure protein‐protein interaction affinity by MST. This protocol includes guidelines for NHS ester labeling, fluorescent‐labeled protein purification, and MST measurement using a labeled protein. As an example of the entire workflow, we additionally provide a protocol for labeling a ubiquitin E3 enzyme and testing ubiquitin E2‐E3 enzyme binding affinity. These methods are highly adaptable and can be extended for protein interaction studies in various biological and biochemical circumstances. © 2021 Wiley Periodicals LLC.

    This article was corrected on 18 July 2022. See the end of the full text for details.

    Basic Protocol 1: Labeling a protein of interest at its N‐terminus with NHS esters through stepwise reaction

    Alternate Protocol: Labeling a protein of interest at its N‐terminus with NHS esters through a one‐pot reaction

    Basic Protocol 2: Purifying the N‐terminal fluorescent‐labeled protein and determining its concentration and labeling efficiency

    Basic Protocol 3: Using MST to determine the binding affinity of an N‐terminal fluorescent‐labeled protein to a binding partner.

    Basic Protocol 4: NHS ester labeling of ubiquitin E3 ligase WWP2 and measurement of the binding affinity between WWP2 and an E2 conjugating enzyme by the MST binding assay

    more » « less
  3. Many plants possess two or more ubiquitin-activating enzymes (E1). However, it is unclear whether the E1s of a plant genome play equivalent roles in various pathways. Here we report that tomato and tobacco encode dual ubiquitin-activating systems (DUAS) in which the E1s UBA1 and UBA2 display differential specificities in charging four groups of E2s.The C-terminal ubiquitin-folding domain of the E1s play a major but not sole role in determining the differential specificities of charging the four groups E2s. The dual systems do not play equivalent roles in plant immunity, with silence of UBA2 only compromising host immunity. Among the differentially charged E2s, group IV members UBC32, UBC33 and UBC34 are shown to be essential for ER-associated protein degradation (ERAD) and plant immunity. Like tomato, Arabidopsis UBC32/33/34 E2 triplet are also differentially charged by its E1s and are essential for plant immunity. Loss of function in Arabidopsis UBC32, UBC33 and UBC34 does not affect flg22 and elf18-triggered inhibition of seedling growth but results in alteration of ER stress tolerance, which likely contribute to the diminished plant immunity in the mutants. Our results uncover DUAS in plants and a previously unknown E1‒ERAD-associated E2 triplet module in the regulation of host immunity. 
    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    Production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) is critical for successful activation of immune responses against pathogen infection. The plant NADPH oxidase RBOHD is a primary player in ROS production during innate immunity. However, how RBOHD is negatively regulated remains elusive. Here we show that RBOHD is regulated by C-terminal phosphorylation and ubiquitination. Genetic and biochemical analyses reveal that the PBL13 receptor-like cytoplasmic kinase phosphorylates RBOHD’s C-terminus and two phosphorylated residues (S862 and T912) affect RBOHD activity and stability, respectively. Using protein array technology, we identified an E3 ubiquitin ligase PIRE (PBL13 interacting RING domain E3 ligase) that interacts with both PBL13 and RBOHD. Mimicking phosphorylation of RBOHD (T912D) results in enhanced ubiquitination and decreased protein abundance. PIRE and PBL13 mutants display higher RBOHD protein accumulation, increased ROS production, and are more resistant to bacterial infection. Thus, our study reveals an intricate post-translational network that negatively regulates the abundance of a conserved NADPH oxidase.

    more » « less
  5. Ubiquitin-like proteins (Ubls) share some features with ubiquitin (Ub) such as their globular 3D structure and the ability to attach covalently to other proteins. Interferon Stimulated Gene 15 (ISG15) is an abundant Ubl that similar to Ub, marks many hundreds of cellular proteins, altering their fate. In contrast to Ub, , ISG15 requires interferon (IFN) induction to conjugate efficiently to other proteins. Moreover, despite the multitude of E3 ligases for Ub-modified targets, a single E3 ligase termed HERC5 (in humans) is responsible for the bulk of ISG15 conjugation. Targets include both viral and cellular proteins spanning an array of cellular compartments and metabolic pathways. So far, no common structural or biochemical feature has been attributed to these diverse substrates, raising questions about how and why they are selected. Conjugation of ISG15 mitigates some viral and bacterial infections and is linked to a lower viral load pointing to the role of ISG15 in the cellular immune response. In an apparent attempt to evade the immune response, some viruses try to interfere with the ISG15 pathway. For example, deconjugation of ISG15 appears to be an approach taken by coronaviruses to interfere with ISG15 conjugates. Specifically, coronaviruses such as SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2, encode papain-like proteases (PL1pro) that bear striking structural and catalytic similarities to the catalytic core domain of eukaryotic deubiquitinating enzymes of the Ubiquitin-Specific Protease (USP) sub-family. The cleavage specificity of these PLpro enzymes is for flexible polypeptides containing a consensus sequence (R/K)LXGG, enabling them to function on two seemingly unrelated categories of substrates: (i) the viral polyprotein 1 (PP1a, PP1ab) and (ii) Ub- or ISG15-conjugates. As a result, PLpro enzymes process the viral polyprotein 1 into an array of functional proteins for viral replication (termed non-structural proteins; NSPs), and it can remove Ub or ISG15 units from conjugates. However, by de-conjugating ISG15, the virus also creates free ISG15, which in turn may affect the immune response in two opposite pathways: free ISG15 negatively regulates IFN signaling in humans by binding non-catalytically to USP18, yet at the same time free ISG15 can be secreted from the cell and induce the IFN pathway of the neighboring cells. A deeper understanding of this protein-modification pathway and the mechanisms of the enzymes that counteract it will bring about effective clinical strategies related to viral and bacterial infections 
    more » « less