The ubiquitin-mediated degradation of cellular proteins requires the sequential activity of E1, E2 and, in some cases, E3 enzymes. Using the yeast two-hybrid system, we have cloned 1.0- and 2.5-kb cDNAs encoding the identical murine E2, or ubiquitin conjugating enzyme by virtue of its interaction with the E2A transcription factor. This cDNA encodes the 158-amino-acid protein, mUBC9, which has considerable sequence homology to UBC9 from Saccharomyces cerevisiae and HUS5 from Schizosaccharomyces pombe and is identical to the human UBC9 protein. HUS5 is essential for DNA damage repair, whereas UBC9 is necessary for G2/M progression. The human protein has been shown to correct the UBC9 defect in yeast. Antisera raised against bacterially expressed mUBC9 fusion protein recognize a murine cellular protein of approximately 18 kDa, corresponding to the predicted mobility. Unlike E2A, the mUBC9 protein level is not regulated by serum growth factors. The activity of the apparent homologues UBC9 and HUS5 suggests that mUBC9 may be involved in the degradation of key nuclear proteins that regulate cell cycle progression.
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