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This article is peer reviewed and was originally published in the Journal of Cell Science, Volume 119, Issue 22, 15 November 2006, Pages 4749-4757. ©The Company of Biologists


Saccharomyces cerevisiae contains two Siz/PIAS SUMO E3 ligases, Siz1 and Siz2/Nfi1, and one other known ligase, Mms21. Although ubiquitin ligases are highly substrate-specific, the degree to which SUMO ligases target distinct sets of substrates is unknown. Here we show that although Siz1 and Siz2 each have unique substrates in vivo, sumoylation of many substrates can be stimulated by either protein. Furthermore, in the absence of both Siz proteins, many of the same substrates are still sumoylated at low levels. Some of this residual sumoylation depends on MMS21. Siz1 targets its unique substrates through at least two distinct domains. Sumoylation of PCNA (proliferating cell nuclear antigen) and the splicing factor Prp45 requires part of the N-terminal region of Siz1, the ;PINIT' domain, whereas sumoylation of the bud neck-associated septin proteins Cdc3, Cdc11 and Shs1/Sep7 requires the C-terminal domain of Siz1, which is also sufficient for cell cycle-dependent localization of Siz1 to the bud neck. Remarkably, the non-sumoylated septins Cdc10 and Cdc12 also undergo Siz1-dependent sumoylation if they are fused to the short PsiKXE SUMO attachment-site sequence. Collectively, these results suggest that local concentration of the E3, rather than a single direct interaction with the substrate polypeptide, is the major factor in substrate selectivity by Siz proteins.

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