Photocrosslinking Activity-Based Probes for Ubiquitin RING E3 Ligases

Sunil Mathur, Adam J. Fletcher, Emma Branigan, Ronald T. Hay, Satpal Virdee (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
152 Downloads (Pure)


Activity-based protein profiling is an invaluable technique for studying enzyme biology and facilitating the development of therapeutics. Ubiquitin E3 ligases (E3s) are one of the largest enzyme families and regulate a host of (patho)physiological processes. The largest subtype are the RING E3s of which there are >600 members. RING E3s have adaptor-like activity that can be subject to diverse regulatory mechanisms and have become attractive drug targets. Activity-based probes (ABPs) for measuring RING E3 activity do not exist. Here we re-engineer ubiquitin-charged E2 conjugating enzymes to produce photocrosslinking ABPs. We demonstrate activity-dependent profiling of two divergent cancer-associated RING E3s, RNF4 and c-Cbl, in response to their native activation signals. We also demonstrate profiling of endogenous RING E3 ligase activation in response to epidermal growth factor (EGF) stimulation. These photocrosslinking ABPs should advance E3 ligase research and the development of selective modulators against this important class of enzymes. Activity-based probes (ABPs) are valuable research tools for studying enzyme function. Ubiquitin E3 ligases are one of the largest enzyme families yet ABPs for this enzyme class do not exist. Mathur et al. developed photocrosslinking ABPs for RING E3s and using activity-based proteomics demonstrate activity-dependent readout of diverse E3 activation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-82.e6
Number of pages16
JournalCell Chemical Biology
Issue number1
Early online date16 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jan 2020


  • E3 ligases
  • RING E3
  • activity-based probes
  • cancer
  • drug discovery
  • photocrosslinking
  • protein degradation
  • proteomics
  • ubiquitin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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