Structural and biochemical studies of the open state of Lys48-linked diubiquitin.
ABSTRACT: Ubiquitin (Ub) is a small protein highly conserved among eukaryotes and involved in practically all aspects of eukaryotic cell biology. Polymeric chains assembled from covalently-linked Ub monomers function as molecular signals in the regulation of a host of cellular processes. Our previous studies have shown that the predominant state of Lys48-linked di- and tetra-Ub chains at near-physiological conditions is a closed conformation, in which the Ub-Ub interface is formed by the hydrophobic surface residues of the adjacent Ub units. Because these very residues are involved in (poly)Ub interactions with the majority of Ub-binding proteins, their sequestration at the Ub-Ub interface renders the closed conformation of polyUb binding incompetent. Thus the existence of open conformation(s) and the interdomain motions opening and closing the Ub-Ub interface is critical for the recognition of Lys48-linked polyUb by its receptors. Knowledge of the conformational properties of a polyUb signal is essential for our understanding of its specific recognition by various Ub-receptors. Despite their functional importance, open states of Lys48-linked chains are poorly characterized. Here we report a crystal structure of the open state of Lys48-linked di-Ub. Moreover, using NMR, we examined interactions of the open state of this chain (at pH4.5) with a Lys48-linkage-selective receptor, the UBA2 domain of a shuttle protein hHR23a. Our results show that di-Ub binds UBA2 in the same mode and with comparable affinity as the closed state. Our data suggest a mechanism for polyUb signal recognition, whereby Ub-binding proteins select specific conformations out of the available ensemble of polyUb chain conformations. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Ubiquitin Drug Discovery and Diagnostics.
Project description:Ubiquitin (Ub) and the Ub-like (Ubl) modifier interferon-stimulated gene 15 (ISG15) participate in the host defence of viral infections. Viruses, including the severe acute respiratory syndrome human coronavirus (SARS hCoV), have co-opted Ub-ISG15 conjugation pathways for their own advantage or have evolved effector proteins to counter pro-inflammatory properties of Ub-ISG15-conjugated host proteins. In the present study, we compare substrate specificities of the papain-like protease (PLpro) from the recently emerged Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) hCoV to the related protease from SARS, SARS PLpro. Through biochemical assays, we show that, similar to SARS PLpro, MERS PLpro is both a deubiquitinating (DUB) and a deISGylating enzyme. Further analysis of the intrinsic DUB activity of these viral proteases revealed unique differences between the recognition and cleavage specificities of polyUb chains. First, MERS PLpro shows broad linkage specificity for the cleavage of polyUb chains, whereas SARS PLpro prefers to cleave Lys48-linked polyUb chains. Secondly, MERS PLpro cleaves polyUb chains in a 'mono-distributive' manner (one Ub at a time) and SARS PLpro prefers to cleave Lys48-linked polyUb chains by sensing a di-Ub moiety as a minimal recognition element using a 'di-distributive' cleavage mechanism. The di-distributive cleavage mechanism for SARS PLpro appears to be uncommon among USP (Ub-specific protease)-family DUBs, as related USP family members from humans do not display such a mechanism. We propose that these intrinsic enzymatic differences between SARS and MERS PLpro will help to identify pro-inflammatory substrates of these viral DUBs and can guide in the design of therapeutics to combat infection by coronaviruses.
Project description:In solution, Lys48-linked di-ubiquitin exists in dynamic equilibrium between closed and open conformations. To understand the effect of interdomain motion in polyubiquitin chains on their ability to bind ligands, we cyclized di-ubiquitin by cross-linking the free C terminus of the proximal ubiquitin with the side chain of residue 48 in the distal ubiquitin, using a chemical cross-linker, 1,6-Hexane-bis-vinylsulfone. Our NMR studies confirm that the cyclization affects conformational dynamics in di-ubiquitin by restricting opening of the interface and shifting the conformational equilibrium toward closed conformations. The cyclization, however, did not rigidly lock di-ubiquitin in a single closed conformation: The chain undergoes slow exchange between at least two closed conformations, characterized by interdomain contacts involving the same hydrophobic patch residues (Leu8-Ile44-Val70) as in the uncyclized di-ubiquitin. Lowering the pH changes the relative populations of these conformations, but in contrast with the uncyclized di-ubiquitin, does not lead to opening of the interface. This restriction of domain motions inhibits direct access of protein molecules to the hydrophobic patch residues located at the very center of the interdomain interface in di-ubiquitin, although the residual motions are sufficient to allow access of small molecules to the interface. This renders di-ubiquitin unable to bind protein molecules (e.g., UBA2 domain) in the normal manner, and thus could interfere with Ub(2) recognition by various downstream effectors. These results emphasize the importance of the opening/closing domain motions for the recognition and function of di-ubiquitin and possibly longer polyubiquitin chains.
Project description:Deubiquitinating enzymes (DUBs) recognize and cleave linkage-specific polyubiquitin (polyUb) chains, but mechanisms underlying specificity remain elusive in many cases. The severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus papain-like protease (PLpro) is a DUB that cleaves ISG15, a two-domain Ub-like protein, and Lys48-linked polyUb chains, releasing diUb(Lys48) products. To elucidate this specificity, we report the 2.85 Å crystal structure of SARS PLpro bound to a diUb(Lys48) activity-based probe. SARS PLpro binds diUb(Lys48) in an extended conformation via two contact sites, S1 and S2, which are proximal and distal to the active site, respectively. We show that specificity for polyUb(Lys48) chains is predicated on contacts in the S2 site and enhanced by an S1-S1' preference for a Lys48 linkage across the active site. In contrast, ISG15 specificity is dominated by contacts in the S1 site. Determinants revealed for polyUb(Lys48) specificity should prove useful in understanding PLpro deubiquitinating activities in coronavirus infections.
Project description:Proteasomal degradation is mediated through modification of target proteins by Lys-48-linked polyubiquitin (polyUb) chain, which interacts with several binding partners in this pathway through hydrophobic surfaces on individual Ub units. However, the previously reported crystal structures of Lys-48-linked diUb exhibit a closed conformation with sequestered hydrophobic surfaces. NMR studies on mutated Lys-48-linked diUb indicated a pH-dependent conformational equilibrium between closed and open states with the predominance of the former under neutral conditions (90% at pH 6.8). To address the question of how Ub-binding proteins can efficiently access the sequestered hydrophobic surfaces of Ub chains, we revisited the conformational dynamics of Lys-48-linked diUb in solution using wild-type diUb and cyclic forms of diUb in which the Ub units are connected through two Lys-48-mediated isopeptide bonds. Our newly determined crystal structure of wild-type diUb showed an open conformation, whereas NMR analyses of cyclic Lys-48-linked diUb in solution revealed that its structure resembled the closed conformation observed in previous crystal structures. Comparison of a chemical shift of wild-type diUb with that of monomeric Ub and cyclic diUb, which mimic the open and closed states, respectively, with regard to the exposure of hydrophobic surfaces to the solvent indicates that wild-type Lys-48-linked diUb in solution predominantly exhibits the open conformation (75% at pH 7.0), which becomes more populated upon lowering pH. The intrinsic properties of Lys-48-linked Ub chains to adopt the open conformation may be advantageous for interacting with Ub-binding proteins.
Project description:Ubiquitin (Ub) molecules can be enzymatically connected through a specific isopeptide linkage, thereby mediating various cellular processes by binding to Ub-interacting proteins through their hydrophobic surfaces. The Lys48-linked Ub chains, which serve as tags for proteasomal degradation, undergo conformational interconversions between open and closed states, in which the hydrophobic surfaces are exposed and shielded, respectively. Here, we provide a quantitative view of such dynamic processes of Lys48-linked triUb and tetraUb in solution. The native and cyclic forms of Ub chains are prepared with isotope labeling by in vitro enzymatic reactions. Our comparative NMR analyses using monomeric Ub and cyclic diUb as reference molecules enabled the quantification of populations of the open and closed states for each Ub unit of the native Ub chains. The data indicate that the most distal Ub unit in the Ub chains is the most apt to expose its hydrophobic surface, suggesting its preferential involvement in interactions with the Ub-recognizing proteins. We also demonstrate that a mutational modification of the distal end of the Ub chain can remotely affect the solvent exposure of the hydrophobic surfaces of the other Ub units, suggesting that Ub chains could be unique design frameworks for the creation of allosterically controllable multidomain proteins.
Project description:The eight different types of ubiquitin (Ub) chains that can be formed play important roles in diverse cellular processes. Linkage-selective recognition of Ub chains by Ub-binding domain (UBD)-containing proteins is central to coupling different Ub signals to specific cellular responses. The motif interacting with ubiquitin (MIU) is a small UBD that has been characterized for its binding to monoUb. The recently discovered deubiquitinase MINDY-1/FAM63A contains a tandem MIU repeat (tMIU) that is highly selective at binding to K48-linked polyUb. We here identify that this linkage-selective binding is mediated by a single MIU motif (MIU2) in MINDY-1. The crystal structure of MIU2 in complex with K48-linked polyubiquitin chains reveals that MIU2 on its own binds to all three Ub moieties in an open conformation that can only be accommodated by K48-linked triUb. The weak Ub binder MIU1 increases overall affinity of the tMIU for polyUb chains without affecting its linkage selectivity. Our analyses reveal new concepts for linkage selectivity and polyUb recognition by UBDs.
Project description:Ubiquitin (Ub) chains regulate many cellular processes, but several chain types including Lys6 linkages have remained unstudied. Here we analyze the bacterial effector E3 ligase NleL (non-Lee-encoded effector ligase) from enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) O157:H7, which assembles Lys6- and Lys48-linked Ub polymers. Using linkage-specific human deubiquitinases (DUBs) we show that NleL generates heterotypic Ub chains, and branched chains are efficiently hydrolyzed by DUBs. USP family DUBs cleave Lys6-linked polymers exclusively from the distal end, whereas a DUB with preference for Lys6 can cleave Lys6-linked polymers at any position in the chain. We used NleL to generate large quantities of Lys6-linked polyUb. Crystallographic and NMR spectroscopy analyses revealed that an asymmetric interface between Ile44 and Ile36 hydrophobic patches of neighboring Ub moieties is propagated in longer Lys6-linked Ub chains. Interactions via the Ile36 patch can displace Leu8 from the Ile44 patch, leading to marked structural perturbations of Ub.
Project description:Ubiquitin (denoted Ub) receptor proteins as a group must contain a diverse set of binding specificities to distinguish the many forms of polyubiquitin (polyUb) signals. Previous studies suggested that the large class of ubiquitin-associated (UBA) domains contains members with intrinsic specificity for Lys63-linked polyUb or Lys48-linked polyUb, thus explaining how UBA-containing proteins can mediate diverse signaling events. Here we show that previously observed Lys63-polyUb selectivity in UBA domains is the result of an artifact in which the dimeric fusion partner, glutathione S-transferase (GST), positions two UBAs for higher affinity, avid interactions with Lys63-polyUb, but not with Lys48-polyUb. Freed from GST, these UBAs are either nonselective or prefer Lys48-polyUb. Accordingly, NMR experiments reveal no Lys63-polyUb-specific binding epitopes for these UBAs. We reexamine previous conclusions based on GST-UBAs and present an alternative model for how UBAs achieve a diverse range of linkage specificities.
Project description:Ubiquitylation regulates a multitude of biological processes and this versatility stems from the ability of ubiquitin (Ub) to form topologically different polymers of eight different linkage types. Whereas some linkages have been studied in detail, other linkage types including Lys33-linked polyUb are poorly understood. In the present study, we identify an enzymatic system for the large-scale assembly of Lys33 chains by combining the HECT (homologous to the E6-AP C-terminus) E3 ligase AREL1 (apoptosis-resistant E3 Ub protein ligase 1) with linkage selective deubiquitinases (DUBs). Moreover, this first characterization of the chain selectivity of AREL1 indicates its preference for assembling Lys33- and Lys11-linked Ub chains. Intriguingly, the crystal structure of Lys33-linked diUb reveals that it adopts a compact conformation very similar to that observed for Lys11-linked diUb. In contrast, crystallographic analysis of Lys33-linked triUb reveals a more extended conformation. These two distinct conformational states of Lys33-linked polyUb may be selectively recognized by Ub-binding domains (UBD) and enzymes of the Ub system. Importantly, our work provides a method to assemble Lys33-linked polyUb that will allow further characterization of this atypical chain type.
Project description:USP9X is a conserved deubiquitinase (DUB) that regulates multiple cellular processes. Dysregulation of USP9X has been linked to cancers and X-linked intellectual disability. Here, we report the crystal structure of the USP9X catalytic domain at 2.5-Å resolution. The structure reveals a canonical USP-fold comprised of fingers, palm, and thumb subdomains, as well as an unusual ?-hairpin insertion. The catalytic triad of USP9X is aligned in an active configuration. USP9X is exclusively active against ubiquitin (Ub) but not Ub-like modifiers. Cleavage assays with di-, tri-, and tetraUb chains show that the USP9X catalytic domain has a clear preference for K11-, followed by K63-, K48-, and K6-linked polyUb chains. Using a set of activity-based diUb and triUb probes (ABPs), we demonstrate that the USP9X catalytic domain has an exo-cleavage preference for K48- and endo-cleavage preference for K11-linked polyUb chains. The structure model and biochemical data suggest that the USP9X catalytic domain harbors three Ub binding sites, and a zinc finger in the fingers subdomain and the ?-hairpin insertion both play important roles in polyUb chain processing and linkage specificity. Furthermore, unexpected labeling of a secondary, noncatalytic cysteine located on a blocking loop adjacent to the catalytic site by K11-diUb ABP implicates a previously unreported mechanism of polyUb chain recognition. The structural features of USP9X revealed in our study are critical for understanding its DUB activity. The new Ub-based ABPs form a set of valuable tools to understand polyUb chain processing by the cysteine protease class of DUBs.