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The Abundance Of Cell Cycle Regulatory Protein Cdc4p Is Controlled By Interactions Between Its F Box And Skp1p

Neal Mathias, Steve Johnson, Breck Byers, Mark Goebl

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ABSTRACT Posttranslational modification of a protein by ubiquitin usually results in rapid degradation of the ubiquitinated protein by the proteasome. The transfer of ubiquitin to substrate is a multistep process. Cdc4p is a component of a ubiquitin ligase that tethers the ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme Cdc34p to its substrates. Among the domains of Cdc4p that are crucial for function are the F-box, which links Cdc4p to Cdc53p through Skp1p, and the WD-40 repeats, which are required for binding the substrate for Cdc34p. In addition to Cdc4p, other F-box proteins, including Grr1p and Met30p, may similarly act together with Cdc53p and Skp1p to function as ubiquitin ligase complexes. Because the relative abundance of these complexes, known collectively as SCFs, is important for cell viability, we have sought evidence of mechanisms that modulate F-box protein regulation. Here we demonstrate that the abundance of Cdc4p is subject to control by a peptide segment that we term the R-motif (for “reduced abundance”). Furthermore, we show that binding of Skp1p to the F-box of Cdc4p inhibits R-motif-dependent degradation of Cdc4p. These results suggest a general model for control of SCF activities.