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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1977 Jan;74(1):54-8.

A soluble ATP-dependent proteolytic system responsible for the degradation of abnormal proteins in reticulocytes.


Reticulocytes, like other cells, selectively degrade certain abnormal proteins by an energy-dependent process. When isolated rabbit reticulocytes incorporate the valine analog 2-amino-3chlorobutyric acid (ClAbu) in place of valine, they produce an abnormal globin that is degraded with a half-life of 15 min. Normal hemoglobin, in contrast, undergoes little or no breakdown within these cells. Cell-free extracts from reticulocytes have been shown to rapidly hydrolyze these abnormal proteins. The degradative system is located in the 100,000 X g supernatant, has a pH optimum of 7.8, and does not appear to be of lysosomal origin. This breakdown of analog-containing protein was stimulated severalfold by ATP, and slightly by ADP. AMP and adenosine-3':5'-cyclic monophosphate had no significant effect on proteolysis. Experiments with ATP analogs suggest that the terminal high energy phosphate is important in the degradative process. Proteolysis in the cell-free system and in intact reticulocytes was inhibited by the same agents (L-l-tosylamido-2-phenyl-ethylchloromethyl ketone, N-alpha-p-tosyl-L-lysine chloromethyl ketone, N-ethylmaleimide, iodoacetamide, and o-phenanthroline). In addition, the relative rates of degradation of several polypeptides in the cell-free extracts paralleled degradatives rates within cells. Thus, a soluble nonlysosomal proteolytic system appears responsible for the energy-dependent degradation of abnormal proteins in reticulocytes.

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