Polyubiquitination marks proteins for degradation by the 26S proteasome and is carried out by a cascade of enzymes that includes ubiquitin-activating enzymes (E1s), ubiquitin-conjugating enzymes (E2s), and ubiquitin ligases (E3s). The anaphase-promoting complex or cyclosome (APC/C) comprises a multisubunit ubiquitin ligase that mediates mitotic progression. Here, we provide evidence that the Saccharomyces cerevisiae RING-H2 finger protein Apc11 defines the minimal ubiquitin ligase activity of the APC. We found that the integrity of the Apc11p RING-H2 finger was essential for budding yeast cell viability, Using purified, recombinant proteins we showed that Apc11p interacted directly with the Ubc4 ubiquitin conjugating enzyme (E2). Furthermore, purified Apc11p was capable of mediating E1- and E2-dependent ubiquitination of protein substrates, including Clb2p, in vitro. The ability of Apc11p to act as an E3 was dependent on the integrity of the RING-H2 finger, but did not require the presence of the cullin-like APC subunit Apc2p. We suggest that Apc11p is responsible for recruiting E2s to the APC and for mediating the subsequent transfer of ubiquitin to APC substrates in vivo.
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