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J Biol Chem. 2001 Aug 10;276(32):29748-53. Epub 2001 May 30.

Muf1, a novel Elongin BC-interacting leucine-rich repeat protein that can assemble with Cul5 and Rbx1 to reconstitute a ubiquitin ligase.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Program in Molecular and Cell Biology, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73104, USA.


The heterodimeric Elongin BC complex has been shown to interact in vitro and in mammalian cells with a conserved BC-box motif found in a growing number of proteins including RNA polymerase II elongation factor Elongin A, SOCS-box proteins, and the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) tumor suppressor protein. Recently, the VHL-Elongin BC complex was found to interact with a module composed of Cullin family member Cul2 and RING-H2 finger protein Rbx1 to reconstitute a novel E3 ubiquitin ligase that activates ubiquitylation by the E2 ubiquitin-conjugating enzymes Ubc5 and Cdc34. In the context of the VHL ubiquitin ligase, Elongin BC functions as an adaptor that links the VHL protein to the Cul2/Rbx1 module, raising the possibility that the Elongin BC complex could function as an integral component of a larger family of E3 ubiquitin ligases by linking alternative BC-box proteins to Cullin/Rbx1 modules. In this report, we describe identification and purification from rat liver of a novel leucine-rich repeat-containing BC-box protein, MUF1, which we demonstrate is capable of assembling with a Cullin/Rbx1 module containing the Cullin family member Cul5 to reconstitute ubiquitin ligase activity. In addition, we show that the additional BC-box proteins Elongin A, SOCS1, and WSB1 are also capable of assembling with the Cul5/Rbx1 module to reconstitute potential ubiquitin ligases. Taken together, our findings identify MUF1 as a new member of the BC-box family of proteins, and they predict the existence of a larger family of Elongin BC-based E3 ubiquitin ligases.

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