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Genes Cells. 2011 Jan;16(1):12-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2443.2010.01464.x. Epub 2010 Dec 9.

Positively charged residues located downstream of PIP box, together with TD amino acids within PIP box, are important for CRL4(Cdt2) -mediated proteolysis.

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Graduate School of Life Science, University of Hyogo, Kamigori, Ako-gun, Hyogo 678-1297, Japan.


PCNA links Cdt1 and p21 for proteolysis by Cul4-DDB1-Cdt2 (CRL4(Cdt2) ) in the S phase and after DNA damage in mammalian cells. However, other PCNA-interacting proteins, such as ligase I, are not targets of CRL4(Cdt2) . In this study, we created chimera constructs composed of Cdt1 and ligase I and examined how the proteolysis of PCNA-interacting proteins is regulated. Consistent with a recent report using the Xenopus egg system (Havens & Walter 2009), two amino acid elements are also required for degradation in HeLa cells: TD amino acid residues in the PIP box and the basic amino acid at +4 downstream of the PIP box. In addition, we demonstrate that a basic amino acid at +3 is also required for degradation and that an acidic amino acid residue following the basic amino acids abolishes the degradation. Electrostatic surface images suggest that the basic amino acid at +4 is involved in a contact with PCNA, while +3 position extending to opposite direction is important to create a positively charged surface. When all these required elements were introduced in ligase I peptide, the substituted form became degraded. Our results demonstrate that PCNA-dependent degron is strictly composed to avoid illegitimate destruction of PCNA-interacting proteins.

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