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Mol Cell. 2001 Apr;7(4):907-13.

Three-dimensional structure of the anaphase-promoting complex.

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Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP), Dr. Bohr-Gasse 7, A-1030 Vienna, Austria.


The anaphase-promoting complex (APC) is a cell cycle-regulated ubiquitin-protein ligase, composed of at least 11 subunits, that controls progression through mitosis and G1. Using cryo-electron microscopy and angular reconstitution, we have obtained a three-dimensional model of the human APC at a resolution of 24 A. The APC has a complex asymmetric structure 140 A x 140 A x 135 A in size, in which an outer protein wall surrounds a large inner cavity. We discuss the possibility that this cavity represents a reaction chamber in which ubiquitination reactions take place, analogous to the inner cavities formed by other protein machines such as the 26S proteasome and chaperone complexes. This cage hypothesis could help to explain the great subunit complexity of the APC.

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