Covalent attachment of ubiquitin to other cellular proteins has been implicated in a multitude of diverse physiological processes in eukaryotes including selective protein degradation. This attachment is carried out by a multi-enzyme pathway consisting of three classes of enzymes: ubiquitin-activating enzymes (E1s), ubiquitin-conjugating enzymes (E2s), and ubiquitin-protein ligases (E3s). E2s accept activated ubiquitin from E1 and conjugate it to target proteins with or without the participation of specific E3s. Previously, we have isolated wheat cDNAs encoding 16 and 23 kDa E2s, TaUBC1 and TaUBC4, respectively. TaUBC1 shows structural homology to the yeast RAD6 E2 that is essential for DNA repair whereas TaUBC4 is related to the yeast ScUBC8 E2, both of which effectively conjugate ubiquitin to histones in vitro but as yet are without a known in vivo function. Here, we report the isolation of genomic and cDNA homologues of these genes from Arabidopsis thaliana. In Arabidopsis, both of these E2s are encoded by three member gene families. Members of the AtUBC1 gene family, comprising AtUBC1, 2 and 3, encode 150-152 amino acid proteins that are 83-99% identical to each other and TaUBC1 and contain four introns that are conserved with respect to position. Members of the AtUBC4 gene family, comprising AtUBC4, 5 and 6, encode 187-191 amino acid proteins that are 73-88% identical to each other and TaUBC4 and contain five introns that are conserved with respect to position. In contrast, AtUBC1-3 gene products are only 31-36% identical to those derived from AtUBC4-6. mRNA for each family was detected in Arabidopsis roots, leaves, stems, and flowers indicating that members of each family are expressed in most if not all tissues.
- Arabidopsis thaliana
- DNA repair
- N-end recognition
- protein degradation
- ubiquitin conjugating enzymes