The anaphase-promoting complex (APC/C) is a large ubiquitin-protein ligase which controls progression through anaphase by triggering the degradation of cell cycle regulators such as securin and B-type cyclins. The APC/C is an unusually complex ligase containing at least 10 different, evolutionarily conserved components. In contrast to APC/C's role in cell cycle regulation little is known about the functions of individual subunits and how they might interact with each other. Here, we have analyzed Swm1/Apc13, a small subunit recently identified in the budding yeast complex. Database searches revealed proteins related to Swm1/Apc13 in various organisms including humans. Both the human and the fission yeast homologues are associated with APC/C subunits, and they complement the phenotype of an SWM1 deletion mutant of budding yeast. Swm1/Apc13 promotes the stable association with the APC/C of the essential subunits Cdc16 and Cdc27. Accordingly, Swm1/Apc13 is required for ubiquitin ligase activity in vitro and for the timely execution of APC/C-dependent cell cycle events in vivo.
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