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Biochemistry. 2016 Aug 23;55(33):4708-19. doi: 10.1021/acs.biochem.6b00033. Epub 2016 Aug 8.

Divergence in Ubiquitin Interaction and Catalysis among the Ubiquitin-Specific Protease Family Deubiquitinating Enzymes.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Delaware, 214A Drake Hall, Newark, Delaware 19716, United States.


Deubiquitinating enzymes (DUBs) are responsible for reversing mono- and polyubiquitination of proteins and play essential roles in numerous cellular processes. Close to 100 human DUBs have been identified and are classified into five families, with the ubiquitin-specific protease (USP) family being the largest (>50 members). The binding of ubiquitin (Ub) to USP is strikingly different from that observed for the DUBs in the ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase (UCH) and ovarian tumor domain protease (OTU) families. We generated a panel of mutant ubiquitins and used them to probe the ubiquitin's interaction with a number of USPs. Our results revealed a remarkable divergence of USP-Ub interactions among the USP catalytic domains. Our double-mutant cycle analysis targeting the ubiquitin residues located in the tip, the central body, and the tail of ubiquitin also demonstrated different crosstalk among the USP-Ub interactions. This work uncovered intriguing divergence in the ubiquitin-binding mode in the USP family DUBs and raised the possibility of targeting the ubiquitin-binding hot spots on USPs for selective inhibition of USPs by small molecule antagonists.

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