Priming and extending: a UbcH5/Cdc34 E2 handoff mechanism for polyubiquitination on a SCF substrate.
We describe a mechanistic model of polyubiquitination by the SCF(beta TrCP2) E3 ubiquitin (Ub) ligase using human I kappaB alpha as a substrate. Biochemical reconstitution experiments revealed that the polyubiquitination of I kappaB alpha began with the action of the UbcH5 E2 Ub-conjugating enzyme, transferring a single Ub to I kappaB alpha K21/K22 rapidly and efficiently. Subsequently, the Cdc34 E2 functioned in the formation of polyubiquitin chains. It was determined that a Ub fused at I kappaB alpha K21 acts as a receptor, directing Cdc34 for rapid and efficient K48-linked Ub chain synthesis that depends on SCF(beta TrCP2) and the substrate's N terminus. The I kappaB alpha-linked fusion Ub appears to mediate direct contacts with Cdc34 and the SCF's RING subcomplex. Taken together, these results suggest a role for the multifaceted interactions between the I kappaB alpha K21/K22-linked receptor Ub, the SCF's RING complex, and Cdc34 approximately S approximately Ub in establishing the optimal orientation of the receptor Ub to drive conjugation.