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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Polyanions provide selective control of APC/C interactions with the activator subunit

  • Author(s): Mizrak, Arda
  • Advisor(s): Morgan, David O
  • et al.

Transient interactions between the Anaphase-Promoting Complex/Cyclosome (APC/C) and its activator subunit Cdc20 or Cdh1 generate oscillations in ubiquitylation activity necessary to maintain the order of cell cycle events. Activator binds the APC/C with high affinity and exhibits negligible dissociation kinetics in vitro, and it is not clear how the rapid turnover of APC/C-activator complexes is achieved in vivo. Here, we describe a mechanism that controls APC/C-activator interactions based on the availability of substrates. We find that APC/C-activator dissociation is stimulated by abundant cellular polyanions such as nucleic acids and polyphosphate. Polyanions also interfere with substrate ubiquitylation. However, engagement with high-affinity substrate blocks the inhibitory effects of polyanions on activator binding and APC/C activity. We propose that this mechanism amplifies the effects of substrate affinity on APC/C function, stimulating processive ubiquitylation of high-affinity substrates and suppressing ubiquitylation of low-affinity substrates.

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