Conjugation of ubiquitin to denatured hemoglobin is proportional to the rate of hemoglobin degradation in HeLa cells

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1982 Oct;79(19):5857-61. doi: 10.1073/pnas.79.19.5857.


Ubiquitin was radioiodinated and introduced into HeLa cells by the erythrocyte-mediated fusion procedure. Fractionation of injected HeLa cells and subsequent NaDodSO4/polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis showed that HeLa nuclei contained two major labeled proteins: ubiquitin and the histone H2A-ubiquitin conjugate, protein A24. HeLa cytosol contained ubiquitin and a series of ubiquitin-protein conjugates of diverse molecular weights. When injected HeLa cells were treated with phenylhydrazine to denature the cotransferred hemoglobin, a series of prominent ubiquitin-globin conjugates appeared. The identity of these conjugates was established by microinjection experiments in which both proteins were labeled. At low doses of phenylhydrazine, the intracellular concentration of globin-ubiquitin conjugates was proportional to the rate of hemoglobin degradation. This result, together with the observation that ubiquitin conjugation to globin is markedly enhanced by phenylhydrazine-induced denaturation of hemoglobin, provides support for the hypothesis that the covalent attachment of ubiquitin to proteins signals proteolysis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / metabolism*
  • Erythrocytes / metabolism
  • HeLa Cells / metabolism
  • Hemoglobins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Iodine Radioisotopes
  • Kinetics
  • Nucleoproteins / metabolism*
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Denaturation
  • Thymus Gland
  • Ubiquitins


  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone
  • Hemoglobins
  • Iodine Radioisotopes
  • Nucleoproteins
  • Ubiquitins