The RAD6 and RAD18 genes of Saccharomyces cerevisiae are required for postreplicative bypass of ultraviolet (UV)-damaged DNA and for UV mutagenesis. The RAD6 encoded protein is a ubiquitin conjugating enzyme, and RAD18 encodes a protein containing a RING finger motif and a nucleotide binding motif. Rad18 can be co-immunoprecipitated with Rad6, indicating that the two proteins exist in a complex in vivo. Here, we co-overproduce the two proteins using a yeast multicopy plasmid, purify the Rad6-Rad18 complex to near homogeneity, and show that the complex is heterodimeric. The Rad6-Rad18 heterodimer has ubiquitin conjugating activity, binds single-stranded DNA, and possesses single-stranded DNA-dependent ATPase activity. The Rad6-Rad18 complex provides the first example wherein a ubiquitin conjugating activity is physically associated with DNA binding and ATPase activities provided by an associated protein factor. The co-existence of these activities should provide the complex with the ability to recognize single-stranded DNA resulting from stalling of the replication machinery at DNA damage sites and to recognize the components of the DNA replication machinery for ubiquitination by Rad6.
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