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J Biol Chem. 1997 Jun 13;272(24):15085-92.

Subcellular localization and ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme (E2) interactions of mammalian HECT family ubiquitin protein ligases.

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  • 1Laboratory of Immune Cell Biology, Division of Basic Sciences, NCI, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-1152, USA.


In most instances, the transfer of ubiquitin to target proteins is catalyzed by the action of ubiquitin protein ligases (E3s). Full-length cDNAs encoding murine E6-associated protein (mE6-AP) as well as Nedd-4, a protein that is homologous to E6-AP in its C terminus, were cloned. Nedd-4 and mouse E6-AP are both enzymatically active E3s and function with members of the UbcH5 family of E2s. Mouse E6-AP, like its human counterpart, ubiquitinates p53 in the presence of human papilloma virus E6 protein, while Nedd-4 does not. Consistent with its role in p53 ubiquitination, mE6-AP was found both in the nucleus and cytosol, while Nedd-4 was found only in the cytosol. Binding studies implicate a 150-amino acid region that is 40% identical between mE6-AP and Nedd-4 as a binding site for the C-terminal portion of an E2 enzyme (UbcH5B). Nedd-4 was determined to have a second nonoverlapping E2 binding site that recognizes the first 67 amino acids of UbcH5B but not the more C-terminal portion of this E2. These findings provide the first demonstration of physical interactions between mammalian E2s and E3s and establish that these interactions occur independently of ubiquitin and an intact E3 catalytic domain. Furthermore, the presence of two E2 binding sites within Nedd-4 suggests models for ubiquitination involving multiple E2 enzymes associated with E3s.

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