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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2011 Dec 27;366(1584):3605-24. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2011.0069.

Structural insights into anaphase-promoting complex function and mechanism.

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  • 1Division of Structural Biology, Institute of Cancer Research, Chester Beatty Laboratories, 237 Fulham Road, London SW3 6JB, UK.


The anaphase-promoting complex or cyclosome (APC/C) controls sister chromatid segregation and the exit from mitosis by catalysing the ubiquitylation of cyclins and other cell cycle regulatory proteins. This unusually large E3 RING-cullin ubiquitin ligase is assembled from 13 different proteins. Selection of APC/C targets is controlled through recognition of short destruction motifs, predominantly the D box and KEN box. APC/C-mediated coordination of cell cycle progression is achieved through the temporal regulation of APC/C activity and substrate specificity, exerted through a combination of co-activator subunits, reversible phosphorylation and inhibitory proteins and complexes. Recent structural and biochemical studies of the APC/C are beginning to reveal an understanding of the roles of individual APC/C subunits and co-activators and how they mutually interact to mediate APC/C functions. This review focuses on the findings showing how information on the structural organization of the APC/C provides insights into the role of co-activators and core APC/C subunits in mediating substrate recognition. Mechanisms of regulating and modulating substrate recognition are discussed in the context of controlling the binding of the co-activator to the APC/C, and the accessibility and conformation of the co-activator when bound to the APC/C.

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