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The ubiquitylation of NF-κB essential modulator (NEMO) is part of the intracellular immune signalling pathway. Monoubiquitylated NEMO is required for exploring the mechanism of NEMO linear ubiquitylation by LUBAC (linear ubiquitin chain assembly complex), but is not accessible by biological techniques. Here we perform the chemical ubiquitylation of NEMO using a ligation auxiliary, which only requires a two-step synthesis, and is easily installed onto the lysine side-chain. Chemical ligation occurs directly on the lysine ε amine and remains efficient below pH 7. We show that ubiquitylated NEMO has similar affinity to linear diubiquitin chains as unmodified NEMO. The proximal ubiquitin of chemically synthesised NEMOCoZi-Ub is accepted as a substrate for linear extension by the (RING-Between-RING) RBR domain of HOIL-1-interacting protein (HOIP) alone. Our results indicate that NEMO linear ubiquitylation consists of two-steps, an initial priming event and a separate extension step requiring different LUBAC components.

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Journal article


Commun Chem

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