Lysine 63-linked polyubiquitin chain may serve as a targeting signal for the 26S proteasome.
Recruitment of substrates to the 26S proteasome usually requires covalent attachment of the Lys48-linked polyubiquitin chain. In contrast, modifications with the Lys63-linked polyubiquitin chain and/or monomeric ubiquitin are generally thought to function in proteasome-independent cellular processes. Nevertheless, the ubiquitin chain-type specificity for the proteasomal targeting is still poorly understood, especially in vivo. Using mass spectrometry, we found that Rsp5, a ubiquitin-ligase in budding yeast, catalyzes the formation of Lys63-linked ubiquitin chains in vitro. Interestingly, the 26S proteasome degraded well the Lys63-linked ubiquitinated substrate in vitro. To examine whether Lys63-linked ubiquitination serves in degradation in vivo, we investigated the ubiquitination of Mga2-p120, a substrate of Rsp5. The polyubiquitinated p120 contained relatively high levels of Lys63-linkages, and the Lys63-linked chains were sufficient for the proteasome-binding and subsequent p120-processing. In addition, Lys63-linked chains as well as Lys48-linked chains were detected in the 26S proteasome-bound polyubiquitinated proteins. These results raise the possibility that Lys63-linked ubiquitin chain also serves as a targeting signal for the 26S proteaseome in vivo.