The E4orf6/E1B55K E3 ubiquitin ligase complexes of human adenoviruses exhibit heterogeneity in composition and substrate specificity

Chi Ying Cheng, Timra Gilson, Frédéric Dallaire, Gary Ketner, Philip E. Branton, Paola Blanchette

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Although human adenovirus type 5 (Ad5) has been widely studied, relatively little work has been done with other human adenovirus serotypes. The Ad5 E4orf6 and E1B55K proteins form Cul5-based E3 ubiquitin ligase complexes to degrade p53, Mre11, DNA ligase IV, integrin α3, and almost certainly other targets, presumably to optimize the cellular environment for viral replication and perhaps to facilitate persistence or latency. As this complex is essential for the efficient replication of Ad5, we undertook a systematic analysis of the structure and function of corresponding E4orf6/E1B55K complexes from other serotypes to determine the importance of this E3 ligase throughout adenovirus evolution. E4orf6 and E1B55K coding sequences from serotypes representing all subgroups were cloned, and each pair was expressed and analyzed for their capacity to assemble the Cullin-based ligase complex and to degrade substrates following plasmid DNA transfection. The results indicated that all formed Cullin-based E3 ligase complexes but that heterogeneity in both structure and function existed. Whereas Cul5 was present in the complexes of some serotypes, others recruited primarily Cul2, and the Ad16 complex clearly bound both Cul2 and Cul5. There was also heterogeneity in substrate specificity. Whereas all serotypes tested appeared to degrade DNA ligase IV, complexes from some serotypes failed to degrade Mre11, p53, or integrin α3. Thus, a major evolutionary pressure for formation of the adenovirus ligase complex may lie in the degradation of DNA ligase IV; however, it seems possible that the degradation of as-yet-unidentified critical targets or, perhaps even more likely, appropriate combinations of substrates plays a central role for these adenoviruses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)765-775
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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