Structural Properties of Polyubiquitin Chains in Solution

TitleStructural Properties of Polyubiquitin Chains in Solution
Publication TypeJournal Articles
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsVaradan R, Walker O, Pickart C, Fushman D
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Pagination637 - 647
Date Published2002/12/06/
ISBN Number0022-2836
Keywordschemical shift mapping, domain orientation measurements, polyubiquitin chains, spin relaxation, ubiquitin

Because polyubiquitin chain structure modulates Ub-mediated signaling, knowledge of the physiological conformations of chain signals should provide insights into specific recognition. Here, we characterized the solution conformations of K48-linked Ub2 and Ub4 using a combination of NMR techniques, including chemical shift mapping of the interdomain interface, domain orientation measurements on the basis of 15N relaxation and residual dipolar couplings, and the solvent accessibility studies. Our data indicate a switch in the conformation of Ub2, from open to closed, with increasing pH. The closed conformation features a well-defined interface that is related to, but distinguishable from, that observed in the Ub2 crystal structure. This interface is dynamic in solution, such that important hydrophobic residues (L8, I44, V70) that are sequestered at the interface in the closed conformation may be accessible for direct interactions with recognition factors. Our results suggest that the distal two units of Ub4, which is the minimum signal for efficient proteasomal degradation, may adopt the closed Ub2 conformation.