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Catalysis of non-canonical protein ubiquitylation by the ARIH1 ubiquitin ligase.

Biochemical Journal 2023 October 24
Protein ubiquitylation typically involves isopeptide bond formation between the C-terminus of ubiquitin to the side-chain amino group on Lys residues. However, several ubiquitin ligases (E3s) have recently been identified that ubiquitylate proteins on non-Lys residues. For instance, HOIL-1 belongs to the RING-in-between RING (RBR) class of E3s and has an established role in Ser ubiquitylation. Given the homology between HOIL-1 and ARIH1, an RBR E3 that functions with the large superfamily of cullin-RING E3 ligases (CRLs), a biochemical investigation was undertaken, showing ARIH1 catalyzes Ser ubiquitylation to CRL-bound substrates. However, the efficiency of ubiquitylation was exquisitely dependent on the location and chemical environment of the Ser residue within the primary structure of the substrate. Comprehensive mutagenesis of the ARIH1 Rcat domain identified residues whose mutation severely impacted both oxyester and isopeptide bond formation at the preferred site for Ser ubiquitylation while only modestly affecting Lys ubiquitylation at the physiological site. The results reveal dual isopeptide and oxyester protein ubiquitylation activities of ARIH1 and set the stage for physiological investigations into this function of emerging importance.

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