Ubiquitin carboxyl-terminal hydrolases are required for period maintenance of the circadian clock at high temperature in Arabidopsis


Protein ubiquitylation participates in a number of essential cellular processes including signal transduction and transcription, often by initiating the degradation of specific substrates through the 26S proteasome. Within the ubiquitin-proteasome system, deubiquitylating enzymes (DUBs) not only help generate and maintain the supply of free ubiquitin monomers, they also directly control functions and activities of specific target proteins by modulating the pool of ubiquitylated species. Ubiquitin carboxyl-terminal hydrolases (UCHs) belong to an enzymatic subclass of DUBs, and are represented by three members in Arabidopsis, UCH1, UCH2 and UCH3. UCH1 and UCH2 influence auxin-dependent developmental pathways in Arabidopsis through their deubiquitylation activities, whereas biological and enzymatic functions of UCH3 remain unclear. Here, we demonstrate that Arabidopsis UCH3 acts to maintain the period of the circadian clock at high temperatures redundantly with UCH1 and UCH2. Whereas single uch1, uch2 and uch3 mutants have weak circadian phenotypes, the triple uch mutant displays a drastic lengthening of period at high temperatures that is more extreme than the uch1 uch2 double mutant. UCH3 also possesses a broad deubiquitylation activity against a range of substrates that link ubiquitin via peptide and isopeptide linkages. While the protein target(s) of UCH1-3 are not yet known, we propose that these DUBs act on one or more factors that control period length of the circadian clock through removal of their bound ubiquitin moieties, thus ensuring that the clock oscillates with a proper period even at elevated temperature

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