The Angelman syndrome-associated protein, E6-AP, is a coactivator for the nuclear hormone receptor superfamily

Zafar Nawaz, David M. Lonard, Carolyn L. Smith, Efrat Lev-Lehman, Sophia Y. Tsai, Ming Jer Tsai, Bert W. O'Malley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

341 Scopus citations


In this study, we found that the E6-associated protein (E6-AP/UBE3A) directly interacts with and coactivates the transcriptional activity of the human progesterone receptor (PR) in a hormone-dependent manner. E6-AP also coactivates the hormone-dependent transcriptional activities of the other members of the nuclear hormone receptor superfamily. Previously, it was shown that E6-AP serves the role of a ubiquitin-protein ligase (E3) in the presence of the E6 protein from human papillomavirus types 16 and 18. Our data show that the ubiquitin-protein ligase function of E6-AP is dispensable for its ability to coactivate nuclear hormone receptors, showing that E6-AP possesses two separable independent functions, as both a coactivator and a ubiquitin- protein ligase. Disruption of the maternal copy of E6-AP is correlated with Angelman syndrome (AS), a genetic neurological disorder characterized by severe mental retardation, seizures, speech impairment, and other symptoms. However, the exact mechanism by which the defective E6-AP gene causes AS remains unknown. To correlate the E6-AP coactivator function and ubiquitin- protein ligase functions with the AS phenotype, we expressed mutant forms of E6-AP isolated from AS patients and assessed the ability of each of these mutant proteins to coactivate PR or provide ubiquitin-protein ligase activity. This analysis revealed that in the majority of the AS patients examined, the ubiquitin-protein ligase function of E6-AP was defective whereas the coactivator function was intact. This finding suggests that the AS phenotype results from a defect in the ubiquitin-proteosome protein degradation pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1182-1189
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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