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CUL3 E3 ligases in plant development and environmental response


Thirty years of research have revealed the fundamental role of the ubiquitin–proteasome system in diverse aspects of cellular regulation in eukaryotes. The ubiquitin–protein ligases or E3s are central to the ubiquitin–proteasome system since they determine the specificity of ubiquitylation. The cullin–RING ligases (CRLs) constitute one large class of E3s that can be subdivided based on the cullin isoform and the substrate adapter. SCF complexes, composed of CUL1 and the SKP1/F-box protein substrate adapter, are perhaps the best characterized in plants. More recently, accumulating evidence has demonstrated the essential roles of CRL3 E3s, consisting of a CUL3 protein and a BTB/POZ substrate adaptor. In this Review, we describe the variety of CRL3s functioning in plants and the wide range of processes that they regulate. Furthermore, we illustrate how different classes of E3s may cooperate to regulate specific pathways or processes.

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Fig. 1: Subunit composition of CRLs in plants.
Fig. 2: Phylogenetic analysis of the BTB/POZ protein family from Arabidopsis.
Fig. 3: Examples for CRL3 regulation.


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We thank M. Prigge for assistance with Fig. 2. Work in the authors’ laboratory is supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health (GM43644).

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Z.B. and M.E. both contributed to the writing of the article.

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Correspondence to Mark Estelle.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Peer review information Nature Plants thanks Pascal Genschik and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Ban, Z., Estelle, M. CUL3 E3 ligases in plant development and environmental response. Nat. Plants 7, 6–16 (2021).

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