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      UNC-89 (obscurin) binds to MEL-26, a BTB-domain protein, and affects the function of MEI-1 (katanin) in striated muscle of Caenorhabditis elegans

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          UNC-89 (obscurin) interacts with MEL-26, a BTB-domain protein/adaptor for cullin-3. MEL-26 colocalizes with UNC-89 at M-lines. Mutations in MEL-26, CUL-3 (cullin-3), and MEI-1 (katanin) result in a muscle phenotype similar to that of unc-89 mutants. The level of MEI-1 is reduced in unc-89 mutants, suggesting that normally UNC-89 inhibits CUL-3/MEL-26 in muscle.


          The ubiquitin proteasome system is involved in degradation of old or damaged sarcomeric proteins. Most E3 ubiquitin ligases are associated with cullins, which function as scaffolds for assembly of the protein degradation machinery. Cullin 3 uses an adaptor to link to substrates; in Caenorhabditis elegans, one of these adaptors is the BTB-domain protein MEL-26 (maternal effect lethal). Here we show that MEL-26 interacts with the giant sarcomeric protein UNC-89 (obscurin). MEL-26 and UNC-89 partially colocalize at sarcomeric M-lines. Loss of function or gain of function of mel-26 results in disorganization of myosin thick filaments similar to that found in unc-89 mutants. It had been reported that in early C. elegans embryos, a target of the CUL-3/MEL-26 ubiquitylation complex is the microtubule-severing enzyme katanin (MEI-1). Loss of function or gain of function of mei-1 also results in disorganization of thick filaments similar to unc-89 mutants. Genetic data indicate that at least some of the mel-26 loss-of-function phenotype in muscle can be attributed to increased microtubule-severing activity of MEI-1. The level of MEI-1 protein is reduced in an unc-89 mutant, suggesting that the normal role of UNC-89 is to inhibit the CUL-3/MEL-26 complex toward MEI-1.

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          Function and regulation of cullin-RING ubiquitin ligases.

          Cullin-RING complexes comprise the largest known class of ubiquitin ligases. Owing to the great diversity of their substrate-receptor subunits, it is possible that there are hundreds of distinct cullin-RING ubiquitin ligases in eukaryotic cells, which establishes these enzymes as key mediators of post-translational protein regulation. In this review, we focus on the composition, regulation and function of cullin-RING ligases, and describe how these enzymes can be characterized by a set of general principles.
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            The two-hybrid system is a powerful technique for detecting protein-protein interactions that utilizes the well-developed molecular genetics of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. However, the full potential of this technique has not been realized due to limitations imposed by the components available for use in the system. These limitations include unwieldy plasmid vectors, incomplete or poorly designed two-hybrid libraries, and host strains that result in the selection of large numbers of false positives. We have used a novel multienzyme approach to generate a set of highly representative genomic libraries from S. cerevisiae. In addition, a unique host strain was created that contains three easily assayed reporter genes, each under the control of a different inducible promoter. This host strain is extremely sensitive to weak interactions and eliminates nearly all false positives using simple plate assays. Improved vectors were also constructed that simplify the construction of the gene fusions necessary for the two-hybrid system. Our analysis indicates that the libraries and host strain provide significant improvements in both the number of interacting clones identified and the efficiency of two-hybrid selections.
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              Three-dimensional high-resolution second-harmonic generation imaging of endogenous structural proteins in biological tissues.

              We find that several key endogenous protein structures give rise to intense second-harmonic generation (SHG)-nonabsorptive frequency doubling of an excitation laser line. Second-harmonic imaging microscopy (SHIM) on a laser-scanning system proves, therefore, to be a powerful and unique tool for high-resolution, high-contrast, three-dimensional studies of live cell and tissue architecture. Unlike fluorescence, SHG suffers no inherent photobleaching or toxicity and does not require exogenous labels. Unlike polarization microscopy, SHIM provides intrinsic confocality and deep sectioning in complex tissues. In this study, we demonstrate the clarity of SHIM optical sectioning within unfixed, unstained thick specimens. SHIM and two-photon excited fluorescence (TPEF) were combined in a dual-mode nonlinear microscopy to elucidate the molecular sources of SHG in live cells and tissues. SHG arose not only from coiled-coil complexes within connective tissues and muscle thick filaments, but also from microtubule arrays within interphase and mitotic cells. Both polarization dependence and a local symmetry cancellation effect of SHG allowed the signal from species generating the second harmonic to be decoded, by ratiometric correlation with TPEF, to yield information on local structure below optical resolution. The physical origin of SHG within these tissues is addressed and is attributed to the laser interaction with dipolar protein structures that is enhanced by the intrinsic chirality of the protein helices.

                Author and article information

                Role: Monitoring Editor
                Mol Biol Cell
                Mol. Biol. Cell
                Mol. Bio. Cell
                Molecular Biology of the Cell
                The American Society for Cell Biology
                15 July 2012
                : 23
                : 14
                : 2623-2634
                aDepartment of Pathology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322
                bDepartment of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB T2N 1N4, Canada
                Vanderbilt University
                Author notes
                1Address correspondence to: Guy Benian ( pathgb@ ).
                © 2012 Wilson et al. This article is distributed by The American Society for Cell Biology under license from the author(s). Two months after publication it is available to the public under an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 3.0 Unported Creative Commons License (

                “ASCB®,” “The American Society for Cell Biology®,” and “Molecular Biology of the Cell®” are registered trademarks of The American Society of Cell BD; are registered trademarks of The American Society of Cell Biology.

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