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Plant Mol Biol. 2008 Sep;68(1-2):145-58. doi: 10.1007/s11103-008-9358-9. Epub 2008 Jun 6.

Identification of ubiquitinated proteins in Arabidopsis.

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Centro de Biotecnología y Genómica de Plantas, Campus de Montegancedo s/n. Boadilla del Monte, Madrid, Spain.


Ubiquitin (Ub) is a small peptide that is covalently attached to proteins in a posttranslational reaction. Ubiquitination is a precise regulatory system that is present in all eukaryotic organisms and regulates the stability, the activity, the localization and the transport of proteins. Ubiquitination involves different enzymatic activities, in which the E3 ligases catalyze the last step recruiting of the target for labelling with ubiquitin. Genomic analyses have shown that the ubiquitin-proteasome system involves a large number of proteins in plants, as approximately 5% of the total protein belongs to this pathway. In contrast to the high number of E3 ligases of ubiquitin identified, very few proteins regulated by ubiquitination have been described. To solve this, we have undertaken a new proteomic approach aimed to identify proteins modified with ubiquitin. This is based on affinity purification and identification for ubiquitinated proteins using the ubiquitin binding domain (UBA) polypeptide of the P62 protein attached to agarose beads. This P62-agarose matrix is capable of specifically binding ubiquitinated proteins. These bound proteins were digested with trypsin and the peptides separated by HPLC chromatography, spotted directly onto a MALDI target and analyzed by MALDI-TOF/TOF off-line coupled LC/MALDI-MS/MS. A total of 200 putative ubiquitinated proteins were identified. From these we found that several of the putative targets were already described in plants, as well as in other organisms, as ubiquitinated proteins. In addition, we have found that some of these proteins were indeed modified with ubiquitin in vivo. Taken together, we have shown that this approach is useful for identifying ubiquitinated protein in plants.

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