Journal of molecular biology

RING E3-Catalyzed E2 Self-Ubiquitination Attenuates the Activity of Ube2E Ubiquitin-Conjugating Enzymes.

PMID 25960396


Ubiquitination of a target protein is accomplished through sequential actions of the E1, E2s, and the E3s. E2s dictate the modification topology while E3 ligases confer substrate specificity and recruit the cognate E2. Human genome codes for ~35 different E2 proteins; all of which contain the characteristic ubiquitin-conjugating UBC core domain sufficient for catalysis. Many of these E2 enzymes also have N- or C-terminal extensions; roles of which are not very well understood. We show that the N-terminal extension of Ube2E1 undergoes intramolecular auto-ubiquitination. This self-ubiquitination activity is enhanced in the presence of interacting RING E3 ligases and results in a progressive attenuation of the E2 activity toward substrate/E3 modification. We also find that the N-terminal ubiquitination sites are conserved in all the three Ube2Es and replacing them with arginine renders all three full-length Ube2Es equally active as their core UBC domains. Based on these results, we propose that E3-catalyzed self-ubiquitination acts as a key regulatory mechanism that controls the activity of Ube2E class of ubiquitin E2s.