PloS one

Phosphorylation of Ubc9 by Cdk1 enhances SUMOylation activity.

PMID 22509284


Increasing evidence has pointed to an important role of SUMOylation in cell cycle regulation, especially for M phase. In the current studies, we have obtained evidence through in vitro studies that the master M phase regulator CDK1/cyclin B kinase phosphorylates the SUMOylation machinery component Ubc9, leading to its enhanced SUMOylation activity. First, we show that CDK1/cyclin B, but not many other cell cycle kinases such as CDK2/cyclin E, ERK1, ERK2, PKA and JNK2/SAPK1, specifically enhances SUMOylation activity. Second, CDK1/cyclin B phosphorylates the SUMOylation machinery component Ubc9, but not SAE1/SAE2 or SUMO1. Third, CDK1/cyclin B-phosphorylated Ubc9 exhibits increased SUMOylation activity and elevated accumulation of the Ubc9-SUMO1 thioester conjugate. Fourth, CDK1/cyclin B enhances SUMOylation activity through phosphorylation of Ubc9 at serine 71. These studies demonstrate for the first time that the cell cycle-specific kinase CDK1/cyclin B phosphorylates a SUMOylation machinery component to increase its overall SUMOylation activity, suggesting that SUMOylation is part of the cell cycle program orchestrated by CDK1 through Ubc9.