Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC San Diego

UC San Diego Previously Published Works bannerUC San Diego

Structurally plastic NEMO and oligomerization prone IKK2 subunits define the behavior of human IKK2:NEMO complexes in solution


The human IκB Kinase (IKK) is a multisubunit protein complex of two kinases and one scaffolding subunit that controls induction of transcription factor NF-κB activity. IKK behaves as an entity of aberrantly high apparent molecular weight in solution. Recent X-ray crystallographic and cryo-electron microscopy structures of individual catalytic subunits (IKK1/IKKα and IKK2/IKKβ) reveal that they are both stably folded dimeric proteins that engage in extensive homo-oligomerization through unique surfaces that are required for activation of their respective catalytic activities. The NEMO/IKKγ subunit is a predominantly coiled coil protein that is required for activation of IKK through the canonical NF-κB signaling pathway. Here we report size-exclusion chromatography, multi-angle light scattering, analytical centrifugation, and thermal denaturation analyses of full-length human recombinant NEMO as well as deletion and disease-linked variants. We observe that NEMO is predominantly a dimer in solution, although by virtue of its modular coiled coil regions NEMO exhibits complicated solution dynamics involving portions that are mutually antagonistic toward homodimerization. This behavior causes NEMO to behave as a significantly larger sized particle in solution. Analyses of NEMO in complex with IKK2 indicate that NEMO preserves this structurally dynamic character within the multisubuit complex and provides the complex-bound IKK2 further propensity toward homo-oligomerization. These observations provide critical information on the structural plasticity of NEMO subunit dimers which helps clarify its role in diseases and in IKK regulation through oligomerization-dependent phosphorylation of catalytic IKK2 subunit dimers.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View