Background: Cullin-RING ubiquitin ligases (CRLs) are regulated by neddylation, which is a post translation modification of the Cullin family proteins. Neddylation of Cul1 activates the ligase through some means of biochemical mechanisms. The rate of neddylation and its extent are regulated by 2 opposing enzymatic processes: neddylation by an enzymatic cascade, and deneddylation by COP9-Signalosome (CSN) complex protein. The mechanism by which COP9-Signalosome catalytic activity is regulated is not well understood. Methods: We set an in vitro neddylation and deneddylation reaction using as a source for specific COP9/Signalosome deneddylase activity either Hela cells extract or purified Signalosome. Neddylation reaction of either endogenic Cul1 from Hela cells extract or recombinant Cul1 was catalyzed by recombinant neddylation enzymes. Deneddylation rate was tested either simultaneous to neddylation or after termination of neddylation by using an ATP depleting reaction or by directly inhibiting the neddylation activation enzyme named APP-BP1/UBA3 by its specific inhibitor MLN-4924. Results: We demonstrated that neddylation and deneddylation are catalytically engaged and that inhibition of Cul1 neddylation significantly causes a decline in the rate of COP9-Signalosome deneddylase activity. Since neddylation is an ATP consuming reaction we managed to isolate the 2 opposing processes which surprisingly caused a decline in COP9 activity. Using MLN-4924 we demonstrated that direct inhibition of neddylation negatively influences the rate of deneddylation. The hypothesis that phosphorylation controls deneddylation was ruled out by the fact that no change in the rate of deneddylation was exemplified while converting the use of ATP with AMP-PNP. Conclusions: We demonstrated that deneddylation of Cul1 is positively regulated through direct simultaneous neddylation and is not dependent upon autophosphorylation. Defining the mechanism that regulates neddylation and deneddylation of Cullin proteins is important due to their effect on highly conserved cellular processes. We showed that minor changes in the degree of Cul1 neddylation linearly control the degree of p27 conjugation to ubiquitin, which emphasizes the hypothetic physiologic significance of our findings.
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