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EMBO J. 2005 Feb 9;24(3):439-51. Epub 2005 Jan 20.

Structures of the SUMO E1 provide mechanistic insights into SUMO activation and E2 recruitment to E1.

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  • 1Structural Biology Program, Sloan-Kettering Institute, New York, NY 10021, USA.


E1 enzymes facilitate conjugation of ubiquitin and ubiquitin-like proteins through adenylation, thioester transfer within E1, and thioester transfer from E1 to E2 conjugating proteins. Structures of human heterodimeric Sae1/Sae2-Mg.ATP and Sae1/Sae2-SUMO-1-Mg.ATP complexes were determined at 2.2 and 2.75 A resolution, respectively. Despite the presence of Mg.ATP, the Sae1/Sae2-SUMO-1-Mg.ATP structure reveals a substrate complex insomuch as the SUMO C-terminus remains unmodified within the adenylation site and 35 A from the catalytic cysteine, suggesting that additional changes within the adenylation site may be required to facilitate chemistry prior to adenylation and thioester transfer. A mechanism for E2 recruitment to E1 is suggested by biochemical and genetic data, each of which supports a direct role for the E1 C-terminal ubiquitin-like domain for E2 recruitment during conjugation.

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