Posted by: Kay at Suicyte | August 31, 2007

APC dangerous for your Kid?

When I read today’s output of my Pubcrawler alert, I found a headline I had to read twice before I got the message. The title said

Human Kid is Degraded by the APC/CCdh1 but Not by the APC/CCdc20

I don’t dare imagine what the tabloids would make from this story. For the degradologists among us, it is quite clear that the Kid in question is the chromokinesin KIF22. Interestingly, this is not the only Kid among our genes – this name is also used for the gap junction connexin GJB2 and the kidney-specific aquaporin AQP6. And while talking about ambiguity in nomenclature, the dangerous APC mentioned here is neither the antigen presenting cell (dangerous for pathogens), nor the adenomatosis polyposis coli gene (dangerous if mutated). It is the anaphase promoting complex, a multi-subunit ubiquitin ligase (dangerous mainly for proteins that hold the replicated chromsomes together).

So, what is this paper about? Kid (=Kif22) contains a so-called KEN box, a short sequence motif that is found in many proteins that are ubiquitinated and degraded during the cell cycle. The authors report that many functional KEN boxes (there are also non-functional ones) are followed by a proline residue. In this paper, they show that the presence of this proline determines that these substrates are preferentially recognized by Cdh1 (one substrate adaptor of the APC ubiquitilin ligase) but not by Cdc20 (another substrate adaptor). There are actually people who think this is interesting. Me, for one.



  1. I though APC was Activate Protein C [ ] which has anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic activities. I was fed all this information in medical school in chapters related to myocardial ischemia and blood coagulation without getting any real insight into the process, so I got all the names but never got to know the game!
    Kay thanks for introducing me to the pubcrawler.
    Apoptosis sounds intriguing to me. If we can control apoptosis, can we control time?

  2. Oh yes, I forgot about the protein C stuff. Probably not the last word in APC, though. Looks like a popular abbreviation, even outside of biology. Wikipedia lists quite a few instances, ranging from Arab Potash Company to Armoured Personal Carriers, not to forget the American Pie Council.

    Regarding Pubcrawler, this is a rather old pubmed alerting system and I am not sure how many people are using is nowadays, where myNCBI offers a similar feature from within the Entrez search page. Maybe there are other alerting services that I don’t know of, but as I have been using Pubcrawler for many years now, I see no reason to change.

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