National Center for
3HCS: Crystal structure of the N-terminal domain of TRAF6
Nat. Struct. Mol. Biol. (2009) 16 p.658-666
Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptor-associated factor (TRAF)-6 mediates Lys63-linked polyubiquitination for NF-kappaB activation via its N-terminal RING and zinc finger domains. Here we report the crystal structures of TRAF6 and its complex with the ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme (E2) Ubc13. The RING and zinc fingers of TRAF6 assume a rigid, elongated structure. Interaction of TRAF6 with Ubc13 involves direct contacts of the RING and the preceding residues, and the first zinc finger has a structural role. Unexpectedly, this region of TRAF6 is dimeric both in the crystal and in solution, different from the trimeric C-terminal TRAF domain. Structure-based mutagenesis reveals that TRAF6 dimerization is crucial for polyubiquitin synthesis and autoubiquitination. Fluorescence resonance energy transfer analysis shows that TRAF6 dimerization induces higher-order oligomerization of full-length TRAF6. The mismatch of dimeric and trimeric symmetry may provide a mode of infinite oligomerization that facilitates ligand-dependent signal transduction of many immune receptors.