The RAD6 gene of Saccharomyces cerevisiae encodes a ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme required for postreplicational repair of UV-damaged DNA and for damage-induced mutagenesis. In addition, Rad6 functions in the N end rule pathway of protein degradation. Rad6 mediates its DNA repair role via its association with Rad18, whose DNA binding activity may target the Rad6-Rad18 complex to damaged sites in DNA. In its role in N end-dependent protein degradation, Rad6 interacts with the UBR1-encoded ubiquitin protein ligase (E3) enzyme. Previous studies have indicated the involvement of N-terminal and C-terminal regions of Rad6 in interactions with Ubr1. Here, we identify the regions of Rad6 and Rad18 that are involved in the dimerization of these two proteins. We show that a region of 40 amino acids towards the C terminus of Rad18 (residues 371 to 410) is sufficient for interaction with Rad6. This region of Rad18 contains a number of nonpolar residues that have been conserved in helix-loop-helix motifs of other proteins. Our studies indicate the requirement for residues 141 to 149 at the C terminus, and suggest the involvement of residues 10 to 22 at the N terminus of Rad6, in the interaction with Rad18. Each of these regions of Rad6 is indicated to form an amphipathic helix.
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