We report a novel human gene whose product specifically associates with the negative regulatory domain of the Wilms' tumor gene product (WT1) in a yeast two-hybrid screen and with WT1 in immunoprecipitation and glutathione S-transferase (GST) capture assays. The gene encodes a 17-kDa protein that has 56% amino acid sequence identity with yeast ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme (yUBC) 9, a protein required for cell cycle progression in yeast, and significant identity with other subfamilies of ubiquitin-conjugating enzymes. The human gene fully complements yeast that have a temperature-sensitive yUBC9 gene mutation to fully restore normal growth, indicating that we have cloned a functionally conserved human (h) homolog of yUBC9. Transcripts of hUBC9 of 4.4 kilobases (kb), 2.8 kb, and 1.3 kb were found in all human tissues tested. A single copy of the hUBC9 gene was found and localized to human chromosome 16p13.3. We conclude that hUBC9 retains striking structural and functional conservation with yUBC9 and suggest a possible link of the ubiquitin/proteosome proteolytic pathway and the WT1 transcriptional repressor system.
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