Similar to substrate-conjugated polyubiquitin, unanchored polyubiquitin chains are emerging as important regulators for diverse biological processes. The affinity purification of unanchored polyubiquitin from various organisms has been reported, however, tools able to distinguish unanchored polyubiquitin chains with different isopeptide linkages have not yet been described. Toward the goal of selectively identifying and purifying unanchored polyubiquitin chains linked through different Lysines, Scott et al. developed a novel strategy in their study [Proteomics 2016, 16, 1961–1969]. They designed a linker-optimized ubiquitin-binding domain hybrid (t-UBD) containing two UBDs, a ZnFCUBP domain, and a linkage-selective UBA domain, to specifically recognize unanchored Lys48-linked polyubiquitin chains. Subsequently, a series of assays has proved the feasibility of this novel strategy for the purification of endogenous substrate-free Lys48-linked polyubiquitin chains from mammalian cell extracts. Their research not only provides a tool for purifying unanchored polyubiquitin with different isopeptide linkages, but also paves the way for generating reagents to study the function of unanchored polyubiquitin chains of different linkages in the future. The design of UBD hybrids for defined unanchored polyubiquitin (Lys48-polyubiquitin) in this study also set an excellent example for future methodology studies regarding monitoring in vivo dynamic changes in the patterns of ubiquitination.
- Mass spectrometry
- Ubiquitin-binding domain
- Unanchored polyubiquitin chain
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology