The SUMO conjugation complex self-assembles into nuclear bodies independent of SIZ1 and COP1

Magdalena J. Mazur, Mark Kwaaitaal, Manuel Arroyo Mateos, Francesca Maio, Ramachandra K. Kini, Marcel Prins, Harrold A. van den Burg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Attachment of the small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO) to substrate proteins modulates their turnover, activity, or interaction partners. However, how this SUMO conjugation activity concentrates the proteins involved and the substrates into uncharacterized nuclear bodies (NBs) remains poorly understood. Here, we characterized the requirements for SUMO NB formation and for their subsequent colocalization with the E3 ubiquitin ligase CONSTITUTIVE PHOTOMORPHOGENIC 1 (COP1), a master regulator of plant growth. COP1 activity results in degradation of transcription factors, which primes the transcriptional response that underlies elongation growth induced by darkness and high ambient temperatures (skoto-and thermomorphogenesis, respectively). SUMO conjugation activity alone was sufficient to target the SUMO machinery into NBs. Colocalization of these bodies with COP1 required, in addition to SUMO conjugation activity, a SUMO acceptor site in COP1 and the SUMO E3 ligase SAP and Miz 1 (SIZ1). We found that SIZ1 docks in the substrate-binding pocket of COP1 via two valine-proline peptide motifs, which represent a known interaction motif of COP1 substrates. The data reveal that SIZ1 physically connects COP1 and SUMO conjugation activity in the same NBs that can also contain the blue-light receptors CRYPTOCHROME 1 and CRYPTOCHROME 2. Our findings thus suggest that sumoylation stimulates COP1 activity within NBs. Moreover, the presence of SIZ1 and SUMO in these NBs explains how both the timing and amplitude of the high-temperature growth response is controlled. The strong colocalization of COP1 and SUMO in these NBs might also explain why many COP1 substrates are sumoylated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-183
Number of pages16
JournalPlant Physiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


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