DTX3L ubiquitin ligase ubiquitinates single-stranded nucleic acids

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DTX3L ubiquitin ligase ubiquitinates single-stranded nucleic acids

Authors

Dearlove, E. L.; Chatrin, C.; Buetow, L.; Ahmed, S. F.; Schmidt, T.; Bushell, M.; Smith, B. O.; Huang, D. T.

Abstract

Ubiquitination typically involves covalent linking of ubiquitin (Ub) to a lysine residue on a protein substrate. Recently, new facets of this process have emerged, including Ub modification of non-proteinaceous substrates like ADP-ribose by the DELTEX E3 ligase family. Here we show that the DELTEX family member DTX3L expands this non-proteinaceous substrate repertoire to include single-stranded DNA and RNA. Although its N-terminal region contains single-stranded nucleic acid binding domains and motifs, the minimal catalytically competent fragment comprises the C-terminal RING and DTC domains (RD). DTX3L-RD catalyses ubiquitination of the 3'-end of single-stranded DNA and RNA, as well as double-stranded DNA with a 3' overhang of two or more nucleotides. This modification is reversibly cleaved by deubiquitinases. NMR and biochemical analyses reveal that the DTC domain binds single-stranded DNA and facilitates the catalysis of Ub transfer from RING-bound E2-conjugated Ub. Our study unveils the direct ubiquitination of nucleic acids by DTX3L, laying the groundwork for understanding its functional implications.

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