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Pflugers Arch. March 15, 2000; 14 (6): 655-65.

The KEN box: an APC recognition signal distinct from the D box targeted by Cdh1.

Pfleger CM , Kirschner MW .

The ordered progression through the cell cycle depends on regulating the abundance of several proteins through ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis. Degradation is precisely timed and specific. One key component of the degradation system, the anaphase promoting complex (APC), is a ubiquitin protein ligase. It is activated both during mitosis and late in mitosis/G(1), by the WD repeat proteins Cdc20 and Cdh1, respectively. These activators target distinct sets of substrates. Cdc20-APC requires a well-defined destruction box (D box), whereas Cdh1-APC confers a different and as yet unidentified specificity. We have determined the sequence specificity for Cdh1-APC using two assays, ubiquitination in a completely defined and purified system and degradation promoted by Cdh1-APC in Xenopus extracts. Cdc20 is itself a Cdh1-APC substrate. Vertebrate Cdc20 lacks a D box and therefore is recognized by Cdh1-APC through a different sequence. By analysis of Cdc20 as a substrate, we have identified a new recognition signal. This signal, composed of K-E-N, serves as a general targeting signal for Cdh1-APC. Like the D box, it is transposable to other proteins. Using the KEN box as a template, we have identified cell cycle genes Nek2 and B99 as additional Cdh1-APC substrates. Mutation in the KEN box stabilizes all three proteins against ubiquitination and degradation.

PubMed ID: 10733526
PMC ID: PMC316466
Article link: Pflugers Arch.
Grant support: GM26875 NIGMS NIH HHS , GM39023 NIGMS NIH HHS , R01 GM026875 NIGMS NIH HHS , R01 GM039023 NIGMS NIH HHS , GM26875 NIGMS NIH HHS , GM39023 NIGMS NIH HHS

Genes referenced: cdc20 cdh1 nek2

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