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EMBO Rep. 2007 Mar;8(3):279-86. Epub 2007 Feb 16.

The Caenorhabditis elegans cell-cycle regulator ZYG-11 defines a conserved family of CUL-2 complex components.

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Department of Cellular Biology, University of Georgia, 724 Biological Sciences Building, Athens, Georgia 30602, USA.


The cullin CUL-2 is a crucial component of a subclass of multisubunit cullin-RING ubiquitin-ligases. The specificity of CUL-2-based complexes is provided by variable substrate-recognition subunits that bind to specific substrates. In Caenorhabditis elegans, CUL-2 regulates several key processes in cell division and embryonic development, including meiotic progression, anterior-posterior polarity and mitotic chromatin condensation. However, the substrate recognition subunits that work in these CUL-2-dependent processes were unknown. Here, we present evidence that ZYG-11 is the substrate-recognition subunit for a CUL-2-based complex that regulates these functions. We show that ZYG-11 interacts with CUL-2 in vivo and binds to the complex adaptor protein Elongin C using a nematode variant of the VHL-box motif. We show that the ZYG11 gene family encompasses two main branches in metazoa, and provide evidence that members of the extended ZYG11 family in nematodes and humans are conserved components of CUL2-based ubiquitin-ligases.

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