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Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2015 Dec;22(12):968-75. doi: 10.1038/nsmb.3116. Epub 2015 Nov 2.

Structural basis for catalytic activation by the human ZNF451 SUMO E3 ligase.

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Structural Biology Program, Sloan Kettering Institute, New York, New York, USA.
Department of Epigenetics, Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics, Freiburg, Germany.
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Sloan Kettering Institute, New York, New York, USA.


E3 protein ligases enhance transfer of ubiquitin-like (Ubl) proteins from E2 conjugating enzymes to substrates by stabilizing the thioester-charged E2~Ubl in a closed configuration optimally aligned for nucleophilic attack. Here, we report biochemical and structural data that define the N-terminal domain of the Homo sapiens ZNF451 as the catalytic module for SUMO E3 ligase activity. The ZNF451 catalytic module contains tandem SUMO-interaction motifs (SIMs) bridged by a Pro-Leu-Arg-Pro (PLRP) motif. The first SIM and PLRP motif engage thioester-charged E2~SUMO while the next SIM binds a second molecule of SUMO bound to the back side of E2. We show that ZNF451 is SUMO2 specific and that SUMO modification of ZNF451 may contribute to activity by providing a second molecule of SUMO that interacts with E2. Our results are consistent with ZNF451 functioning as a bona fide SUMO E3 ligase.

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