Comprehensive ubiquitin E2 profiling of ten ubiquitin E3 ligases

Cell Biochem Biophys. 2013 Sep;67(1):161-7. doi: 10.1007/s12013-013-9627-3.


The ubiquitin pathway regulates diverse functions including protein localization and stability. The complexity of the pathway involving nearly 40 identified E2 conjugating enzymes and over 600 E3 ligases raises the issue of specificity. With the E2s and E3s fitting into a limited number of classes based on bioinformatics, structures, and proven activities, there is not a clear picture as to what would determine which E2/E3 enzyme pair would be functional. There have been many reports of limited E2/E3 activity profiling with a small number of E2s and E3s. We have expanded on this to investigate the activity of ubiquitin E2s covering the majority of the reported classes/families in concert with a number of E3s implicated in a variety of diseases. Using an ELISA-based assay we screened 10 E3 ligases against a panel of 11 E2s to determine which E2/E3 pairs exhibited E3 autoubiquitylation activity. In addition, the ubiquitin chain linkage preference by certain E2/E3 pairs was investigated. Finally, substrate ubiquitylation was assayed for the E3 ligase MuRF1 using various E2/MuRF1 pairs. These studies demonstrate the utility of identifying the correct E2/E3 pair to monitor specific substrate ubiquitylation.

MeSH terms

  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Humans
  • Recombinant Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Recombinant Proteins / genetics
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Ubiquitin-Conjugating Enzymes / genetics
  • Ubiquitin-Conjugating Enzymes / metabolism*
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases / genetics
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases / metabolism*
  • Ubiquitination


  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Ubiquitin-Conjugating Enzymes
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases