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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/26478

Title: Molecular Characterization of the von Hippel-Lindau Ubiquitin Ligase
Authors: Sufan, Roxana Ioana
Advisor: Ohh, Michael
Department: Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology
Keywords: VHL
Issue Date: 8-Mar-2011
Abstract: Marking proteins for degradation by the proteasome is a classical function of ubiquitination. This process of covalent attachment of a chain of ubiquitin molecules to target proteins is governed by the ubiquitin-activating enzyme (E1), the ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme (E2) and the ubiquitin ligase (E3). The von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) tumour suppressor protein forms an E3 ubiquitin ligase, ECV (Elongins BC/Cul2/VHL), which targets the alpha subunit of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) for ubiquitin-mediated destruction under normal oxygen tension. Tumour hypoxia promotes accumulation of HIFalpha, whose expression is associated with cancer progression, poor prognosis and resistance to conventional therapies, thus establishing HIF as a therapeutic target. Notably, VHL is functionally inactivated in VHL disease, a hereditary cancer syndrome characterized by the formation of tumours in multiple organs, as well as in the majority of sporadic clear-cell renal cell carcinomas (CCRCC) and haemangioblastomas. Recently, certain VHL mutations have been shown to cause the congenital disorder Chuvash polycythemia. Work contained in this thesis describes the temporally coordinated activation of the ECV, whereby oxygen-dependent recognition of HIFalpha by VHL triggers Cul2 modification by the ubiquitin-like molecule NEDD8, which enhances ECV ubiquitin ligase activity by recruiting the E2. In addition, the feasibility of ‘bio-tailored’ enzymes in the treatment of cancer is introduced by creating a bioengineered VHL capable of targeting HIFalpha for degradation irrespective of oxygen tension, which leads to the dramatic inhibition of CCRCC tumour growth and angiogenesis in a xenograft model. Furthermore, a ubiquitin ligase composed of two F-box proteins, VHL and suppressor of cytokine signalling 1 (SOCS1), was identified and shown to be paramount for the negative regulation of erythropoiesis by targeting phosphorylated Janus kinase 2 (JAK2) for ubiquitin-mediated destruction. The malfunction of this ubiquitin ligase explains the excessive erythrocytosis observed in Chuvash polycythemia patients and reveals a novel genetic link between the seemingly distinct genes VHL and JAK2 in the development of polycythemia.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/26478
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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