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Identification of a human ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme that mediates the E6-AP-dependent ubiquitination of p53.

Authors:
Scheffner M, Huibregtse JM, Howley PM
Affiliation:
Journal:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Abstract

The E6 protein of the oncogenic human papillomavirus types 16 and 18 facilitates the rapid degradation of the tumor-suppressor protein p53 via the ubiquitin-dependent proteolytic pathway. The E6 protein binds to a cellular protein of 100 kDa termed E6-AP. The complex of E6 and E6-AP specifically interacts with p53 and induces the ubiquitination of p53 in a reaction which requires the ubiquitin-activating enzyme (E1) and a cellular fraction thought to contain a mammalian ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme (E2). This mammalian E2 activity could be replaced with bacterially expressed UBC8 from Arabidopsis thaliana, which belongs to a subfamily of E2s including yeast UBC4 and UBC5 which are highly conserved at the amino acid level. In this paper we describe the cloning of a human cDNA encoding a human E2 that we have designated UbcH5 and that is related to Arabidopsis UBC8 and the other members of this subfamily. We demonstrate that UbcH5 can function in the E6/E6-AP-induced ubiquitination of p53.

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