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EMBO J. 2000 Jun 1;19(11):2580-91.

SCF(beta)(-TrCP) ubiquitin ligase-mediated processing of NF-kappaB p105 requires phosphorylation of its C-terminus by IkappaB kinase.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and the Rappaport Institute for Research in the Medical Sciences, The Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Haifa 31096, Israel.


Processing of the p105 precursor to form the active subunit p50 of the NF-kappaB transcription factor is a unique case in which the ubiquitin system is involved in limited processing rather than in complete destruction of the target substrate. A glycine-rich region along with a downstream acidic domain have been demonstrated to be essential for processing. Here we demonstrate that following IkappaB kinase (IkappaK)-mediated phosphorylation, the C-terminal domain of p105 (residues 918-934) serves as a recognition motif for the SCF(beta)(-TrCP) ubiquitin ligase. Expression of IkappaKbeta dramatically increases processing of wild-type p105, but not of p105-Delta918-934. Dominant-negative beta-TrCP inhibits IkappaK-dependent processing. Furthermore, the ligase and wild-type p105 but not p105-Delta918-934 associate physically following phosphorylation. In vitro, SCF(beta)(-TrCP) specifically conjugates and promotes processing of phosphorylated p105. Importantly, the TrCP recognition motif in p105 is different from that described for IkappaBs, beta-catenin and human immunodeficiency virus type 1 Vpu. Since p105-Delta918-934 is also conjugated and processed, it appears that p105 can be recognized under different physiological conditions by two different ligases, targeting two distinct recognition motifs.

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