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Single molecule FRET unveils ubiquitin transfer mechanism

We use single molecule Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (smFRET) to measure the conformation of a FRET labelled E2~Ub conjugate, which distinguishes between closed and alternative conformations. We describe a real-time FRET assay with a thioester linked E2~Ub conjugate to monitor single ubiquitination events and demonstrate that ubiquitin is transferred to substrate from the closed conformation. These findings are likely to be relevant to all RING E3 catalysed reactions ligating ubiquitin and other ubiquitin-like proteins (Ubls) to substrates.

Branigan, E. J. C. P. R. T. H. Ubiquitin transfer by a RING E3 ligase occurs from a closed E2~ubiquitin conformation. Nature Communications 11 (2020).