Life or Death Transcription Factors

Science's STKE  02 Mar 2004:
Vol. 2004, Issue 222, pp. tw80-TW80
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2222004TW80

Tight control of the levels of the transcription factor and proto-oncogene c-Jun determines in part whether the outcome for the cells is survival or programmed cell death (apoptosis). Two independent groups have identified c-Jun-specific ubiquitin ligases that control the turnover of c-Jun in mammalian cells. Nateri et al. characterized c-Jun degradation stimulated by the ubiquitin ligase complex SCFFbw7. The activity of the SCFFbw7 pathway in promoting the degradation of c-Jun allows neurons to survive conditions that would otherwise lead to cell death. Wertz et al. report that the DCXhDET1-hCOP1 ubiquitin ligase complex can also promote c-Jun degradation and thereby protect mammalian cells from apoptosis. Because c-Jun controls a large number of cellular processes, it is not surprising that more than one ubiquitin ligase controls c-Jun levels.

A. S. Nateri, L. Riera-Sans, C. Da Costa, A. Behrens, The ubiquitin ligase SCFFbw7 antagonizes apoptotic JNK signaling. Science 303, 1374-1378 (2004). [Abstract] [Full Text]

I. E. Wertz, K. M. O'Rourke, Z. Zhang, D. Dornan, D. Arnott, R. J. Deshaies, V. M. Dixit, Human De-etiolated-1 regulates c-Jun by assembling a CUL4A ubiquitin ligase. Science 303, 1371-1374 (2004). [Abstract] [Full Text]