A novel class of ubiquitin ligases, termed the SCF complex, consists of invariable components, Skp1 and Cullin, and variable components called F-box proteins, which have a primary role in determining substrate specificity. We have isolated a cDNA encoding the mouse F-box protein Fwd2 (also known as MD6) as a possible constituent of an SCF-type ubiquitin ligase. Fwd2 cDNA contains 1890 bp with a 1362-bp open reading frame and encodes an approximately 51.5-kDa protein. Fwd2 is expressed predominantly in liver and, to a lesser extent, in the testis, lung, heart, and skeletal muscle. Immunofluorescence staining for Fwd2 protein shows a pattern with the cytoplasm. A coimmunoprecipitation assay has revealed the in vivo interaction between Skp1 and Fwd2 through the F-box domain. Fwd2 also interacts with Cul1 through Skp1, suggesting that Skp1, Cul1, and the F-box protein Fwd2 form an SCF complex (SCF(Fwd2)). We have also isolated and determined the nucleotide sequence and genomic organization of the gene that encodes mouse Fwd2. This gene spans approximately 17 kb and consists of six exons and five introns. Our results suggest that Fwd2 is an F-box protein that constitutes an SCF ubiquitin ligase complex and that it plays a critical role in the ubiquitin- dependent degradation of proteins expressed in the liver.
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