Studying interactions of four proteins in the yeast two-hybrid system: Structural resemblance of the pVHL/elongin BC/hCUL-2 complex with the ubiquitin ligase complex SKP1/cullin/F-box protein

Arnim Pause, Brett Peterson, Gregor Schaffar, Robert Stearman, Richard D. Klausner

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The yeast two-hybrid system is a powerful technique that detects interactions between two proteins and has been useful in identifying new binding partners. However, the system fails to detect protein-protein interactions that require the presence of additional components of a multisubunit complex. Here we demonstrate that the vector YIpDCE1 can be used to express elongins B and C in yeast, and that these proteins form a stable complex that interacts with the von Hippel-Lindau tumor-suppressor gene product (pVHL). Only when pVHL and elongins B and C (VBC) are present does an interaction with the cullin family member, hCUL-2, occur, forming the heterotetrameric pVHL/elongin BC/hCUL-2 complex. This system was then used to map the binding region of hCUL-2 for the VBC complex. The first amino- terminal 108 aa of hCUL-2 are necessary for interaction with the VBC complex. The elongin BC dimer acts as a bridge between pVHL and hCUL-2 because pVHL and hCUL-2 can form distinct complexes with elongins B and C. These results reveal a striking structural resemblance of pVHL/elongin BC/hCUL-2 complex with the E3-like ubiquitin ligase complex SKP1/Cullin/F-box protein with respect to protein composition and sites of interactions. Thus, it seems possible that pVHL/elongin BC/hCUL-2 complex will possess ubiquitin ligase activity targeting specific proteins for degradation by the proteasome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9533-9538
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number17
StatePublished - Aug 17 1999


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