Inhibition of SCF ubiquitin ligases by engineered ubiquitin variants that target the Cul1 binding site on the Skp1-F-box interface.
ABSTRACT: Skp1-Cul1-F-box (SCF) E3 ligases play key roles in multiple cellular processes through ubiquitination and subsequent degradation of substrate proteins. Although Skp1 and Cul1 are invariant components of all SCF complexes, the 69 different human F-box proteins are variable substrate binding modules that determine specificity. SCF E3 ligases are activated in many cancers and inhibitors could have therapeutic potential. Here, we used phage display to develop specific ubiquitin-based inhibitors against two F-box proteins, Fbw7 and Fbw11. Unexpectedly, the ubiquitin variants bind at the interface of Skp1 and F-box proteins and inhibit ligase activity by preventing Cul1 binding to the same surface. Using structure-based design and phage display, we modified the initial inhibitors to generate broad-spectrum inhibitors that targeted many SCF ligases, or conversely, a highly specific inhibitor that discriminated between even the close homologs Fbw11 and Fbw1. We propose that most F-box proteins can be targeted by this approach for basic research and for potential cancer therapies.
Project description:Skp1-Cul1-F-box (SCF) E3 ligases constitute the largest and best-characterized family of the multisubunit E3 ligases with important cellular functions and numerous disease links. The specificity of an SCF E3 ligase is established by one of the 69 human F-box proteins that are recruited to Cul1 through the Skp1 adaptor. We previously reported generation of ubiquitin variants (UbVs) targeting Fbw7 and Fbw11, which inhibit ligase activity by binding at the F-box-Skp1 interface to competitively displace Cul1. In the present study, we employed an optimized engineering strategy to generate specific binding UbVs against 17 additional Skp1-F-box complexes. We validated our design strategy and uncovered the structural basis of binding specificity by crystallographic analyses of representative UbVs bound to Skp1-Fbl10 and Skp1-Fbl11. Our study highlights the power of combining phage display with structure-based design to develop UbVs targeting specific protein surfaces.
Project description:E3 ligases are typically classified by hallmark domains such as RING and RBR, which are thought to specify unique catalytic mechanisms of ubiquitin transfer to recruited substrates<sup>1,2</sup>. However, rather than functioning individually, many neddylated cullin-RING E3 ligases (CRLs) and RBR-type E3 ligases in the ARIH family-which together account for nearly half of all ubiquitin ligases in humans-form E3-E3 super-assemblies<sup>3-7</sup>. Here, by studying CRLs in the SKP1-CUL1-F-box (SCF) family, we show how neddylated SCF ligases and ARIH1 (an RBR-type E3 ligase) co-evolved to ubiquitylate diverse substrates presented on various F-box proteins. We developed activity-based chemical probes that enabled cryo-electron microscopy visualization of steps in E3-E3 ubiquitylation, initiating with ubiquitin linked to the E2 enzyme UBE2L3, then transferred to the catalytic cysteine of ARIH1, and culminating in ubiquitin linkage to a substrate bound to the SCF E3 ligase. The E3-E3 mechanism places the ubiquitin-linked active site of ARIH1 adjacent to substrates bound to F-box proteins (for example, substrates with folded structures or limited length) that are incompatible with previously described conventional RING E3-only mechanisms. The versatile E3-E3 super-assembly may therefore underlie widespread ubiquitylation.
Project description:A large group of E3 ubiquitin ligases is formed by the multisubunit SCF complex, whose core complex (Rbx1/Cul1-Cdc53/Skp1) binds one of many substrate recruiting F-box proteins to form an array of SCF ligases with diverse substrate specificities. It has long been thought that ubiquitylation by SCF ligases is regulated at the level of substrate binding. Here we describe an alternative mechanism of SCF regulation by active dissociation of the F-box subunit. We show that cadmium stress induces selective recruitment of the AAA(+) ATPase Cdc48/p97 to catalyze dissociation of the F-box subunit from the yeast SCF(Met30) ligase to block substrate ubiquitylation and trigger downstream events. Our results not only provide an additional layer of ubiquitin ligase regulation but also suggest that targeted, signal-dependent dissociation of multisubunit enzyme complexes is an important mechanism in control of enzyme function.
Project description:F-box proteins, such as F-box/WD repeat-containing protein 7 (FBW7), are essential components of the SKP1-CUL1-F-box (SCF) E3 ubiquitin ligases. They bind to S-phase kinase-associated protein 1 (SKP1) through the F-box motif and deliver their protein substrate to the E3 ligase complex for ubiquitination and subsequent degradation. F-box and leucine-rich repeat protein 16 (FBXL16) is a poorly studied F-box protein. Because it does not interact with the scaffold protein cullin 1 (CUL1), we hypothesized that FBXL16 might not form a functional SCF-E3 ligase complex. In the present study, we found that FBXL16 up-regulates the levels of proteins targeted by SCF-E3 ligases, such as C-MYC, β-catenin, and steroid receptor coactivator 3 (SRC-3). Focusing on C-MYC, a well-known oncoprotein overexpressed in most human cancers, we show that FBXL16 stabilizes C-MYC by antagonizing FBW7-mediated C-MYC ubiquitination and degradation. Further, we found that, although FBXL16 does not interact with CUL1, it interacts with SKP1 via its N-terminal F-box domain and with its substrate C-MYC via its C-terminal leucine-rich repeats (LRRs) domain. We found that both the F-box domain and the LRR domain are important for FBXL16-mediated C-MYC stabilization. In line with its role in up-regulating the levels of the C-MYC and SRC-3 oncoproteins, FBXL16 promoted cancer cell growth and migration and colony formation in soft agar. Our findings reveal that FBXL16 is an F-box protein that antagonizes the activity of another F-box protein, FBW7, and thereby increases C-MYC stability, resulting in increased cancer cell growth and invasiveness.
Project description:Poly-glutamine (polyQ) diseases are neurodegenerative disorders characterised by expanded CAG repeats in the causative genes whose proteins form inclusion bodies. Various E3 ubiquitin ligases are implicated in neurodegenerative disorders. We report that dysfunction of the SCF (Skp1-Cul1-F-box protein) complex, one of the most well-characterised ubiquitin ligases, is associated with pathology in polyQ diseases like Huntington's disease (HD) and Machado-Joseph disease (MJD). We found that Cullin1 (Cul1) and Skp1, core components of the SCF complex, are reduced in HD mice brain. A reduction in Cul1 levels was also observed in cellular HD model and fly models of both HD and MJD. We show that Cul1 is able to genetically modify mutant huntingtin aggregates because its silencing results in increased aggregate load in cultured cells. Moreover, we demonstrate that silencing dCul1 and dSkp1 in Drosophila results in increased aggregate load and enhanced polyQ-induced toxicity. Our results imply that reduced levels of SCF complex might contribute to polyQ disease pathology.
Project description:SCF (Skp1-Cullin-F-box) ubiquitin ligases comprise several dozen modular enzymes that have diverse roles in biological regulation. SCF enzymes share a common catalytic core containing Cul1?Rbx1, which is directed toward different substrates by a variable substrate receptor (SR) module comprising 1 of 69 F-box proteins bound to Skp1. Despite the broad cellular impact of SCF enzymes, important questions remain about the architecture and regulation of the SCF repertoire, including whether SRs compete for Cul1 and, if so, how this competition is managed. Here, we devise methods that preserve the in vivo assemblages of SCF complexes and apply quantitative mass spectrometry to perform a census of these complexes (the "SCFome") in various states. We show that Nedd8 conjugation and the SR exchange factor Cand1 have a profound effect on shaping the SCFome. Together, these factors enable rapid remodeling of SCF complexes to promote biased assembly of SR modules bound to substrate.
Project description:Many aspects of plant biology depend on the ubiquitin proteasome system for degradation of regulatory proteins. Ubiquitin E3 ligases confer substrate specificity in this pathway, and SCF-type ligases comprise a major class of E3s. SCF ligases have four subunits: SKP1, CUL1, RBX1, and an F-box protein for substrate recognition. The Aux/IAAs are a well-characterized family of SCF substrates in plants. Here, we report characterization of a mutant isolated from a genetic screen in Arabidopsis thaliana designed to identify plants defective in degradation of an Aux/IAA fusion protein, Aux/IAA1-luciferase (IAA1-LUC). This mutant exhibited fourfold slower IAA1-LUC degradation compared with the progenitor line, and seedlings displayed altered auxin responses. Experiments identified the mutant as an allele of CUL1, named cul1-7. The cul1-7 mutation affects the C terminus of the protein, results in reduced cul1-7 levels, and interferes with RBX1 interaction. cul1-7 seedlings are defective in degradation of an endogenous SCF substrate, Repressor of ga1-3 (RGA), and have altered responses to gibberellins. cul1-7 seedlings exhibit slower degradation of the light-labile red/far-red photoreceptor phytochrome A and are photomorphogenic in the dark. This mutation represents the first reported allele of CUL1 to directly affect subunit interactions at the CUL1 C terminus.
Project description:F-box proteins share the F-box domain to connect substrates of E3 SCF ubiquitin RING ligases through the adaptor Skp1/A to Cul1/A scaffolds. F-box protein Fbx15 is part of the general stress response of the human pathogenic mold Aspergillus fumigatus. Oxidative stress induces a transient peak of fbx15 expression, resulting in 3x elevated Fbx15 protein levels. During non-stress conditions Fbx15 is phosphorylated and F-box mediated interaction with SkpA preferentially happens in smaller subpopulations in the cytoplasm. The F-box of Fbx15 is required for an appropriate oxidative stress response, which results in rapid dephosphorylation of Fbx15 and a shift of the cellular interaction with SkpA to the nucleus. Fbx15 binds SsnF/Ssn6 as part of the RcoA/Tup1-SsnF/Ssn6 co-repressor and is required for its correct nuclear localization. Dephosphorylated Fbx15 prevents SsnF/Ssn6 nuclear localization and results in the derepression of gliotoxin gene expression. fbx15 deletion mutants are unable to infect immunocompromised mice in a model for invasive aspergillosis. Fbx15 has a novel dual molecular function by controlling transcriptional repression and being part of SCF E3 ubiquitin ligases, which is essential for stress response, gliotoxin production and virulence in the opportunistic human pathogen A. fumigatus.
Project description:PHR (<u>P</u>AM/<u>H</u>ighwire/<u>R</u>PM-1) proteins are conserved RING E3 ubiquitin ligases that function in developmental processes, such as axon termination and synapse formation, as well as axon degeneration. At present, our understanding of how PHR proteins form ubiquitin ligase complexes remains incomplete. Although genetic studies indicate NMNAT2 is an important mediator of PHR protein function in axon degeneration, it remains unknown how PHR proteins inhibit NMNAT2. Here, we decipher the biochemical basis for how the human PHR protein PAM, also called MYCBP2, forms a noncanonical <u>S</u>kp/<u>C</u>ullin/<u>F</u>-box (SCF) complex that contains the F-box protein FBXO45 and SKP1 but lacks CUL1. We show FBXO45 does not simply function in substrate recognition but is important for assembly of the PAM/FBXO45/SKP1 complex. Interestingly, we demonstrate a novel role for SKP1 as an auxiliary component of the target recognition module that enhances binding of FBXO45 to NMNAT2. Finally, we provide biochemical evidence that PAM polyubiquitinates NMNAT2 and regulates NMNAT2 protein stability and degradation by the proteasome.
Project description:The oncogenic AKT kinase is a key regulator of apoptosis, cell growth, and cell-cycle progression. Despite its important role in proliferation, it remains largely unknown how AKT is mechanistically linked to the cell cycle. We show here that cyclin F, a substrate receptor F-box protein for the SCF (Skp1/Cul1/F-box) family of E3 ubiquitin ligases, is a bona fide AKT substrate. Cyclin F expression oscillates throughout the cell cycle, a rare feature among the 69 human F-box proteins, and all of its known substrates are involved in proliferation. AKT phosphorylation of cyclin F enhances its stability and promotes assembly into productive E3 ligase complexes. Importantly, expression of mutant versions of cyclin F that cannot be phosphorylated by AKT impair cell-cycle entry. Our data suggest that cyclin F transmits mitogen signaling through AKT to the core cell-cycle machinery. This discovery has potential implications for proliferative control in malignancies where AKT is activated.