Mechanism of polyubiquitin chain recognition by the human ubiquitin conjugating enzyme Ube2g2

William E. Bocik, Aroop Sircar, Jeffrey J. Gray, Joel R. Tolman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Ube2g2 is a human ubiquitin conjugating (E2) enzyme involved in the endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation pathway, which is responsible for the identification and degradation of unfolded and misfolded proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum compartment. The Ube2g2-specific role is the assembly of Lys-48-linked polyubiquitin chains, which constitutes a signal for proteasomal degradation when attached to a substrate protein. NMR chemical shift perturbation and paramagnetic relaxation enhancement approaches were employed to characterize the binding interaction between Ube2g2 and ubiquitin, Lys-48-linked diubiquitin, and Lys-63-linked diubiquitin. Results demonstrate that ubiquitin binds to Ube2g2 with an affinity of 90 μM in two different orientations that are rotated by 180° in models generated by the RosettaDock modeling suite. The binding of Ube2g2 to Lys-48- and Lys-63-linked diubiquitin is primarily driven by interactions with individual ubiquitin subunits, with a clear preference for the subunit containing the free Lys-48 or Lys-63 side chain (i.e. the distal subunit). This preference is particularly striking in the case of Lys-48-linked diubiquitin, which exhibits an ∼3-fold difference in affinities between the two ubiquitin subunits. This difference can be attributed to the partial steric occlusion of the subunit whose Lys-48 side chain is involved in the isopeptide linkage. As such, these results suggest that Lys-48-linked polyubiquitin chains may be designed to bind certain proteins like Ube2g2 such that the terminal ubiquitin subunit carrying the reactive Lys-48 side chain can be positioned properly for chain elongation regardless of chain length.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3981-3991
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 4 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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