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Plant Physiol. 2000 Dec;124(4):1828-43.

The ubiquitin-specific protease family from Arabidopsis. AtUBP1 and 2 are required for the resistance to the amino acid analog canavanine.

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Cellular and Molecular Biology Program and the Department of Horticulture, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA.


Ubiquitin-specific proteases (UBPs) are a family of unique hydrolases that specifically remove polypeptides covalently linked via peptide or isopeptide bonds to the C-terminal glycine of ubiquitin. UBPs help regulate the ubiquitin/26S proteolytic pathway by generating free ubiquitin monomers from their initial translational products, recycling ubiquitins during the breakdown of ubiquitin-protein conjugates, and/or by removing ubiquitin from specific targets and thus presumably preventing target degradation. Here, we describe a family of 27 UBP genes from Arabidopsis that contain both the conserved cysteine (Cys) and histidine boxes essential for catalysis. They can be clustered into 14 subfamilies based on sequence similarity, genomic organization, and alignments with their closest relatives from other organisms, with seven subfamilies having two or more members. Recombinant AtUBP2 functions as a bona fide UBP: It can release polypeptides attached to ubiquitins via either alpha- or epsilon-amino linkages by an activity that requires the predicted active-site Cys within the Cys box. From the analysis of T-DNA insertion mutants, we demonstrate that the AtUBP1 and 2 subfamily helps confer resistance to the arginine analog canavanine. This phenotype suggests that the AtUBP1 and 2 enzymes are needed for abnormal protein turnover in Arabidopsis.

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