The von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) tumor suppressor gene is mutated in most human kidney cancers. The VHL protein is part of a complex that includes Elongin B, Elongin C, and Cullin-2, proteins associated with transcriptional elongation and ubiquitination. Here it is shown that the endogenous VHL complex in rat liver also includes Rbx1, an evolutionarily conserved protein that contains a RING-H2 fingerlike motif and that interacts with Cullins. The yeast homolog of Rbx1 is a subunit and potent activator of the Cdc53- containing SCF(Cdc4) ubiquitin ligase required for ubiquitination of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor Sic1 and for the G1 to S cell cycle transition. These findings provide a further link between VHL and the cellular ubiquitination machinery.
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