Insights into SCF ubiquitin ligases from the structure of the Skp1-Skp2 complex

Nature. 2000 Nov 16;408(6810):381-6. doi: 10.1038/35042620.


F-box proteins are members of a large family that regulates the cell cycle, the immune response, signalling cascades and developmental programmes by targeting proteins, such as cyclins, cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors, IkappaBalpha and beta-catenin, for ubiquitination (reviewed in refs 1-3). F-box proteins are the substrate-recognition components of SCF (Skp1-Cullin-F-box protein) ubiquitin-protein ligases. They bind the SCF constant catalytic core by means of the F-box motif interacting with Skp1, and they bind substrates through their variable protein-protein interaction domains. The large number of F-box proteins is thought to allow ubiquitination of numerous, diverse substrates. Most organisms have several Skp1 family members, but the function of these Skp1 homologues and the rules of recognition between different F-box and Skp1 proteins remain unknown. Here we describe the crystal structure of the human F-box protein Skp2 bound to Skp1. Skp1 recruits the F-box protein through a bipartite interface involving both the F-box and the substrate-recognition domain. The structure raises the possibility that different Skp1 family members evolved to function with different subsets of F-box proteins, and suggests that the F-box protein may not only recruit substrate, but may also position it optimally for the ubiquitination reaction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Binding Sites
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / chemistry
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Humans
  • Ligases / chemistry
  • Ligases / metabolism*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Peptide Synthases / chemistry
  • Peptide Synthases / metabolism*
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • S-Phase Kinase-Associated Proteins
  • SKP Cullin F-Box Protein Ligases
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases
  • Ubiquitins / metabolism*


  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • S-Phase Kinase-Associated Proteins
  • Ubiquitins
  • SKP Cullin F-Box Protein Ligases
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases
  • Ligases
  • Peptide Synthases

Associated data

  • PDB/1FQV
  • PDB/1FS1
  • PDB/1FS2