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Biochemistry. 1996 Apr 30;35(17):5385-94.

Functional characterization of the ubiquitin variant encoded by the baculovirus Autographa californica.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee 53226, USA.


The marked evolutionary conservation of ubiquitin is assumed to arise from constraints imposed by folding, stability, and interaction of the polypeptide with various components of the ATP, ubiquitin-dependent degradative pathway. The present studies characterize the most divergent (75% identity) of the species-specific ubiquitin isoforms encoded as a late gene product of the baculovirus Autographa californica [Guarino, L. A. (1990) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 87, 409-413]. Viral ubiquitin supports 40% of the rate of ATP-dependent degradation exhibited by eukaryotic ubiquitin. Inhibition of proteolysis correlated with a lower steady-state concentration of ubiquitin-conjugated degradative intermediates. Rate studies revealed that viral ubiquitin exerts its effect at the step of isopeptide ligase-catalyzed (E3) ubiquitin conjugation since viral and eukaryotic polypeptides are identical in their abilities to support ATP-coupled activation by E1 and transthiolation to E2 carrier proteins. Other studies demonstrated viral ubiquitin severely attenuated the rate of K48-linked multiubiquitin chain formation in E3-independent conjugation catalyzed by recombination yeast CDC34 or rabbit reticulocyte E232K but not chain elongation of alternate linkages formed by yeast RAD6 or human E2EPF. The latter observations suggest nonconserved positions on viral ubiquitin constitute recognition signals for K48-linked chain formation. Sequence comparison of species-specific ubiquitin isoforms indicates that nonconserved positions localized to a defined region on the polypeptide surface distinct from the basic face required for E1 binding. These results suggest this novel ubiquitin isoform may function in baculoviral replication to block destruction of a short-lived protein(s) by the host degradative pathway, targeted through either E2-catalyzed K48-linked multibiquitin chain formation or general E3-mediated conjugation.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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