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Mol Cell Biol. 1994 Dec;14(12):8408-19.

Conjugates of ubiquitin cross-reactive protein distribute in a cytoskeletal pattern.

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Department of Biochemistry, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee 53226.


Ubiquitin cross-reactive protein (UCRP), a 15-kDa interferon-induced protein, is a sequence homolog of ubiquitin that is covalently ligated to intracellular proteins in a parallel enzymatic reaction and is found at low levels within cultured cell lines and human tissues not exposed to interferon. Ubiquitin and UCRP ligation reactions apparently target distinct subsets of intracellular proteins, as judged from differences in the distributions of the respective adducts revealed on immunoblots. In this study, successive passages of the human lung carcinoma line A549 in the presence of neutralizing antibodies against alpha and beta interferons had no effect on the levels of either free or conjugated UCRP, indicating that these UCRP pools are constitutively present within uninduced cells and are thus not a consequence of autoinduction by low levels of secreted alpha/beta interferon. In an effort to identify potential targets for UCRP conjugation, the immunocytochemical distribution of UCRP was examined by using affinity-purified polyclonal antibodies against recombinant polypeptide. UCRP distributes in a punctate cytoskeletal pattern that is resistant to extraction by nonionic detergents (e.g., Triton X-100) in both uninduced and interferon-treated A549 cells. The cytoskeletal pattern colocalizes with the intermediate filament network of epithelial and mesothelial cell lines. Immunoblots of parallel Triton X-100-insoluble cell extracts suggest that the cytoskeletal association largely results from the noncovalent association of UCRP conjugates with the intermediate filaments rather than direct ligation of the polypeptide to structural components of the filaments. A significant increase in the sequestration of UCRP adducts on intermediate filaments accompanies interferon induction. These results suggest that UCRP may serve as a trans-acting binding factor directing the association of ligated target proteins to intermediate filaments.

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