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, 280 (2), 212-21

Ubc9 Is Essential for Viability of Higher Eukaryotic Cells


Ubc9 Is Essential for Viability of Higher Eukaryotic Cells

Tomoko Hayashi et al. Exp Cell Res.


Ubc9 is an enzyme involved in the conjugation of SUMO-1 (small ubiquitin related modifier 1) to target proteins. The SUMO-1 conjugation system is well conserved from yeasts to higher eukaryotes, but many SUMO-1 target proteins reported recently in higher eukaryotic cells, including IkappaBalpha, MDM2, p53, and PML, are not present in yeasts. To determine the physiological roles of SUMO-1 conjugation in higher eukaryotic cells, we constructed a conditional UBC9 mutant of chicken DT40 cells containing the UBC9 transgene under control of a tetracycline-repressible promoter and characterized their loss of function phenotypes. Ubc9 disappeared 3 days after the addition of tetracycline and the increase in viable cell number stopped 4 days after the addition of drug. In contrast to the cases of ubc9 mutants of budding and fission yeasts, which show defects in progression of G2 or early M phase and in chromosome segregation, respectively, we did not observe accumulation of cells in G2/M phase or a considerable increase in the frequency of chromosome missegregation upon depletion of Ubc9 but we did observe an increase in the number of cells containing multiple nuclei, indicating defects in cytokinesis. A considerable portion of the Ubc9-depleted cell population was committed to apoptosis without accumulating in a specific phase of the cell cycle, suggesting that chromosome damages are accumulated in Ubc9-depleted cells, and apoptosis is triggered without activating checkpoint mechanisms under conditions of SUMO-1 conjugation system impairment.

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