Mechanistic Study of Uba5 and the Ufm1 Conjugation Pathway [Protein Synthesis and Degradation]

June 25th, 2014 by Gavin, J. M., Hoar, K., Xu, Q., Ma, J., Lin, Y., Chen, J., Chen, W., Bruzzese, F. J., Harrison, S., Mallender, W. D., Bump, N. J., Sintchak, M. D., Bence, N. F., Li, P., Dick, L. R., Gould, A. E., Chen, J. J.

E1 enzymes activate ubiquitin or ubiquitin-like proteins (Ubl) via an adenylate intermediate and initiate the enzymatic cascade of Ubl conjugation to target proteins or lipids. Ubiquitin-fold modifier 1 (Ufm1) is activated by the E1 enzyme Uba5 and this pathway is proposed to play an important role in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response. However, the mechanisms of Ufm1 activation by Uba5 and subsequent transfer to the conjugating enzyme (E2), Ufc1, have not been studied in detail. In the present work, we found that Uba5 activated Ufm1 via a 2-step mechanism and formed a binary covalent complex of Uba5~Ufm1 thioester. This feature contrasts with the 3-step mechanism and ternary complex formation in ubiquitin-activating enzyme Uba1. Uba5 displayed random ordered binding with Ufm1 and ATP and its ATP-pyrophosphate (PPi) exchange activity was inhibited by both AMP and PPi. Ufm1 activation and Uba5~Ufm1 thioester formation were stimulated in the presence of Ufc1. Furthermore, binding of ATP to Uba5~Ufm1 thioester was required for efficient transfer of Ufm1 from Uba5 to Ufc1 via transthiolation. Consistent with the 2-step activation mechanism, a mechanism-based pan-E1 inhibitor, adenosine-5′-sulfamate (ADS), reacted with Uba5~Ufm1 thioester and formed a covalent, tight-binding Ufm1-ADS adduct in the active site of Uba5, which prevented further substrate binding or catalysis. ADS was also shown to inhibit the Uba5 conjugation pathway in the HCT116 cells through formation of Ufm1-ADS adduct. This suggests that further development of more selective Uba5 inhibitors could be useful in interrogating the roles of the Uba5 pathway in cells.