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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1999 Dec 21;96(26):15342-7.

The Arabidopsis cullin AtCUL1 is modified by the ubiquitin-related protein RUB1.

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  • 1Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Section of Molecular, Biology, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, USA.


The ubiquitin-like protein RUB1 is conjugated to target proteins by a mechanism similar to that of ubiquitin conjugation. Genetic studies in Arabidopsis thaliana have implicated the RUB-conjugation pathway in auxin response. The first step in the pathway is RUB activation by a bipartite enzyme composed of the AXR1 and ECR1 proteins. Ubiquitin activation is an ATP-dependent process that involves the formation of an AMP-ubiquitin intermediate. Here we show that RUB activation by AXR1-ECR1 also involves formation of an AMP-RUB intermediate and that this reaction is catalyzed by the ECR1 subunit alone. In addition, we identified an Arabidopsis protein called RCE1 that is a likely RUB-conjugating enzyme. RCE1 works together with AXR1-ECR1 to promote formation of a stable RUB conjugate with the Arabidopsis cullin AtCUL1 in vitro. Using a tagged version of RUB1, we show that this modification occurs in vivo. Because AtCUL1 is a component of the ubiquitin protein ligase SCF(TIR1), a complex that also functions in auxin response, we propose that RUB modification of AtCUL1 is important for auxin response.

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