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J Biol Chem. 2006 Feb 17;281(7):3989-94. Epub 2005 Dec 13.

The interferon-inducible ubiquitin-protein isopeptide ligase (E3) EFP also functions as an ISG15 E3 ligase.

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Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


The expression of the ubiquitin-like protein ISG15 and protein modification by ISG15 (ISGylation) are strongly activated by interferons. Accordingly, ISG15 expression and protein ISGylation are strongly activated upon viral and bacterial infections and during other stress conditions, suggesting important roles for the ISG15 system in innate immune responses. Here, we report the identification of the ubiquitin-protein isopeptide ligase (E3) EFP (estrogen-responsive finger protein) as the ISG15 E3 ligase for 14-3-3sigma protein. Like other known components of the protein ISGylation system (ISG15, UBE1L, UBP43, and UBC8), EFP is also an interferon-inducible protein. Expression of EFP small interfering RNA decreased the ISGylation of 14-3-3sigma in the 293T cell ISGylation system as well as in MCF-7 cells upon interferon treatment. Furthermore, the ISGylation enzyme activity of EFP was RING domain-dependent. These findings indicate that EFP is an ISG15 E3 ligase for 14-3-3sigma in vivo. The fact that both UBC8 and EFP are common components in the ubiquitin and ISG15 conjugation pathways suggests a mechanism whereby a limited set of enzymes accomplishes diverse post-translational modifications of their substrates in response to changes in environmental stimulations.

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