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Site-specific ubiquitination can regulate the functions of Rab proteins in membrane trafficking. Previously we showed that site-specific monoubiquitination on Rab5 downregulates its function. Rab7 acts in the downstream of Rab5. Although site-specific ubiquitination of Rab7 can affect its function, it remains elusive how the ubiquitination is involved in modulation of the function of Rab7 at molecular level. Here, we report molecular basis for the regulation of Rab7 by site-specific monoubiquitination. Rab7 was predominantly monoubiquitinated at multiple sites in the membrane fraction of cultured cells. Two major ubiquitination sites (K191 and K194), identified by mutational analysis with single K mutants, were responsible for membrane localization of monoubiquitinated Rab7. Using small-angle X-ray scattering, we derived structural models of site-specifically monoubiquitinated Rab7 in solution. Structural analysis combined with molecular dynamics simulation corroborated that the ubiquitin moieties on K191 and K194 are key determinants for exclusion of Rab7 from the endosomal membrane. Ubiquitination on the two major sites apparently mitigated colocalization of Rab7 with ORF3a of SARS-CoV-2, potentially deterring the egression of SARS-CoV-2. Our results establish that the regulatory effects of a Rab protein through site-specific monoubiquitination are commonly observed among Rab GTPases while the ubiquitination sites differ in each Rab protein. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Jaeeun Jung, Jiseok Baek, Kun Tae, Donghyuk Shin, Seungsu Han, Wonjin Yang, Wookyung Yu, Su Myung Jung, Seok Hee Park, Cheol Yong Choi, Sangho Lee. Structural mechanism for regulation of Rab7 by site-specific monoubiquitination. International journal of biological macromolecules. 2022 Jan 01;194:347-357

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PMID: 34801583

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