E6-AP/UBE3A protein acts as a ubiquitin ligase toward SOX9 protein.


SOX9 is a transcription factor that acts as a key regulator at various stages of cartilage differentiation. There is ample evidence that intracellular SOX9 protein levels are tightly regulated both by sumoylation and by degradation through the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. Using a proteomics approach, here we report the identification of a SOX9-binding protein, E6-AP/UBE3A, that may act as a ubiquitin ligase toward Sox9. E6-AP bound SOX9 through the region consisting mostly of its high mobility group domain in vitro. In nuclear lysates, FLAG-tagged E6-AP coprecipitated with Sox9 and its high mobility group domain. This finding was estimated using nuclear lysates from a chondrocytic cell line that endogenously expresses E6-AP and SOX9. Accordingly, ectopically expressed E6-AP and SOX9 colocalized in the nucleus. We show that E6-AP ubiquitinates SOX9 in vitro and in vivo and that SOX9 levels are enhanced after addition of the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib. Similar, siRNA knockdown of E6-AP and the E2 ligase Ubc9 increased cellular SOX9 amounts, supporting the notion that SOX9 may be ubiquitinated in hypertrophic chondrocytes by E6-AP and degraded by proteasomes. This is in accordance with the distribution of SOX9 levels, which are high in proliferating and prehypertrophic chondrocytes but low in hypertrophic chondrocytes, whereas E6-AP levels are high in hypertrophic chondrocytes and low in prehypertrophic chondrocytes. Furthermore, E6-AP-deficient mice showed SOX9 accumulation in chondrocytes and the brain. These findings support the concept that E6-AP regulates SOX9 levels in developing cartilage by acting as a ubiquitin ligase.

DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M113.486795
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@article{Hattori2013E6APUBE3APA, title={E6-AP/UBE3A protein acts as a ubiquitin ligase toward SOX9 protein.}, author={Takako Saisho Hattori and Tetsuya Kishino and Shelley Stephen and Heidi Eberspaecher and Sayumi Maki and Masaharu Takigawa and Benoit de Crombrugghe and Hideyo Yasuda}, journal={The Journal of biological chemistry}, year={2013}, volume={288 49}, pages={35138-48} }