Covalent attachment of ubiquitin regulates a broad range of processes in eukaryotes. A major challenge understands how ubiquitination is regulated by the large network of enzymes that conjugate and remove ubiquitin from substrates, therefore controlling their fate. Many of the more than 90 human deubiquitinating enzymes (DUBs) are found in complexes containing E2 ubiquitin conjugating or E3 ubiquitin ligases enzymes, suggesting cross-regulation of opposing activities. Our long-term goal is to understand the underlying mechanism by which interactions between deubiquitinating and ubiquitin conjugating enzymes cooperate to control ubiquitination. This proposal focuses on a DUB-E2 complex that regulates key ubiquitination events in the response to DNA double strand breaks. OTUB1 is a DUB that specifically cleaves K48-linked polyubiquitin chains, yet binds to E2 enzymes and non-catalytically inhibits synthesis polyubiquitin. Preliminary results show that OTUB1-E2 interactions play an additional role in stimulating OTUB1 to cleave K48-linked polyubiquitin, and that the balance between the catalytic and non-catalytic OTUB1 activities is regulated by availability of uncharged E2 versus charged E2~Ub thioester as well as free ubiquitin. We will use a combination of biochemical, biophysical and structural approaches to investigate the mechanism underlying the dual functions of OTUB1-E2 complexes (Aim 1) and to dissect how the balance between catalytic and non-catalytic functions of OTUB1 is regulated by E2 charging, free ubiquitin and polyubiquitin chains (Aim 2). These results will provide a basis for investigating the contributions of OTUB1 cross-regulation to the temporal regulation of ubiquitination after DNA damage.

Public Health Relevance

The proposed studies will provide insights into the enzymes that regulate the response to DNA damage by attaching and removing the small protein, ubiquitin, to different substrates. Defects in the DNA damage response leads to numerous cancers, including breast and ovarian, and immunodeficiency syndromes. The findings from the proposed work will aid in the search for new drug therapies that target the enzymes in this pathway.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Research Project (R01)
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Membrane Biology and Protein Processing Study Section (MBPP)
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Barski, Oleg
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Johns Hopkins University
Schools of Medicine
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Pasupala, Nagesh; Morrow, Marie E; Que, Lauren T et al. (2018) OTUB1 non-catalytically stabilizes the E2 ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme UBE2E1 by preventing its autoubiquitination. J Biol Chem 293:18285-18295
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