Functionally distinct monomers and trimers produced by a viral oncoprotein
While the process of homo-oligomer formation and disassembly into subunits represents a common strategy to regulate protein activity, reports of proteins in which the subunit and homo-oligomer perform independent functions are scarce. Tumorigenesis induced by the adenovirus E4-ORF1 oncoprotein depends on its binding to a select group of cellular PDZ proteins, including MUPP1, MAGI-1, ZO-2 and Dlg1. We report here that in cells E4-ORF1 exists as both a monomer and trimer and that monomers specifically bind and sequester MUPP1, MAGI-1 and ZO-2 within insoluble complexes whereas trimers specifically bind Dlg1 and promote its translocation to the plasma membrane. This work exposes a novel strategy wherein the oligomerization state of a protein not only determines the capacity to bind separate related targets but also couples the interactions to different functional consequences.