Structural characterization of interaction of K11 and K63 mixed-linkage polyubiquitin chains with the tUIMs of epsin1
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Ubiquitylation or covalent attachment of ubiquitin (Ub) to a variety of substrate proteins in cells is a versatile post-translational modification involved in the regulation of numerous cellular processes. The distinct messages that polyubiquitylation encodes are attributed to the multitude of conformations possible through attachment of ubiquitin monomers within a polyubiquitin chain via a specific lysine residue. Thus the hypothesis is that linkage defines polyubiquitin conformation which in turn determines specific recognition by cellular receptors. Ubiquitylation of membrane surface receptor proteins plays a very important role in regulating receptor-mediated endocytosis as well as endosomal sorting for lysosomal degradation. Epsin1 is an endocytic adaptor protein with three tandem UIMs (Ubiquitin Interacting Motifs) which are responsible for the highly specific interaction between epsin and ubiquitylated receptors. Epsin1 is also an oncogenic protein and its expression is upregulated in some types of cancer. Recently it has been shown that novel K11 and K63 mixed-linkage polyubiquitin chains serve as internalization signal for MHC I (Major Histocompatibility Complex I) molecule through their association with the tUIMs of epsin1. However the molecular mode of action and structural details of the interaction between polyubiquitin chains on receptors and tUIMs of epsin1 is yet to be determined. This information is crucial for the development of anticancer therapeutics targeting epsin1. The molecular basis for the linkage-specific recognition of K11 and K63 mixed-linkage polyubiquitin chains by the tandem UIMs of the endocytic adaptor protein epsin1 is investigated using a combination of NMR methods.