Reference: Papaleo E, et al. (2011) An acidic loop and cognate phosphorylation sites define a molecular switch that modulates ubiquitin charging activity in cdc34-like enzymes. PLoS Comput Biol 7(5):e1002056

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Abstract

E2 ubiquitin-conjugating enzymes are crucial mediators of protein ubiquitination, which strongly influence the ultimate fate of the target substrates. Recently, it has been shown that the activity of several enzymes of the ubiquitination pathway is finely tuned by phosphorylation, an ubiquitous mechanism for cellular regulation, which modulates protein conformation. In this contribution, we provide the first rationale, at the molecular level, of the regulatory mechanism mediated by casein kinase 2 (CK2) phosphorylation of E2 Cdc34-like enzymes. In particular, we identify two co-evolving signature elements in one of the larger families of E2 enzymes: an acidic insertion in beta4alpha2 loop in the proximity of the catalytic cysteine and two conserved key serine residues within the catalytic domain, which are phosphorylated by CK2. Our investigations, using yeast Cdc34 as a model, through 2.5 micros molecular dynamics simulations and biochemical assays, define these two elements as an important phosphorylation-controlled switch that modulates opening and closing of the catalytic cleft. The mechanism relies on electrostatic repulsions between a conserved serine phosphorylated by CK2 and the acidic residues of the beta4alpha2 loop, promoting E2 ubiquitin charging activity. Our investigation identifies a new and unexpected pivotal role for the acidic loop, providing the first evidence that this loop is crucial not only for downstream events related to ubiquitin chain assembly, but is also mandatory for the modulation of an upstream crucial step of the ubiquitin pathway: the ubiquitin charging in the E2 catalytic cleft.

Reference Type
Journal Article
Authors
Papaleo E, Ranzani V, Tripodi F, Vitriolo A, Cirulli C, Fantucci P, Alberghina L, Vanoni M, De Gioia L, Coccetti P
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