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J Biol Chem. 1999 Sep 24;274(39):27674-81.

The RING finger motif of photomorphogenic repressor COP1 specifically interacts with the RING-H2 motif of a novel Arabidopsis protein.

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  • 1Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8104, USA.


The constitutive photomorphogenic 1 (COP1) protein of Arabidopsis functions as a molecular switch for the seedling developmental fates: photomorphogenesis under light conditions and skotomorphogenesis in darkness. The COP1 protein contains a cysteine-rich zinc-binding RING finger motif found in diverse groups of regulatory proteins. To understand the role of the COP1 RING finger in mediating protein-protein interaction, we have performed a yeast two-hybrid screen and isolated a novel protein with a RING-H2 motif, a variant type of the RING finger. This protein, designated COP1 Interacting Protein 8 (CIP8), is encoded by a single copy gene and localized to cytosol in a transient assay. In addition to the RING-H2 motif, the predicted protein has a C4 zinc finger, an acidic region, a glycine-rich cluster, and a serine-rich cluster. The COP1 RING finger and the CIP8 RING-H2 domains are sufficient for their interaction with each other both in vitro and in yeast, whereas neither motif displayed significant self-association. Moreover, site-directed mutagenesis studies demonstrated that the expected zinc-binding ligands of the RING finger and RING-H2 fingers are essential for their interaction. Our findings indicate that the RING finger motif, in this case, serves as autonomous protein-protein interaction domain. The allele specific effect of cop1 mutations on the CIP8 protein accumulation in seedlings indicates that its stability in vivo is dependent on the COP1 protein.

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