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Mol Microbiol. 1999 May;32(3):449-58.

New insights into the ATP-dependent Clp protease: Escherichia coli and beyond.

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Department of Plant Physiology, University of Umeå, Umeå S-901 87, Sweden.


Proteolysis functions as a precise regulatory mechanism for a broad spectrum of cellular processes. Such control impacts not only on the stability of key metabolic enzymes but also on the effective removal of terminally damaged polypeptides. Much of this directed protein turnover is performed by proteases that require ATP and, of those in bacteria, the Clp protease from Escherichia coli is one of the best characterized to date. The Clp holoenzyme consists of two adjacent heptameric rings of the proteolytic subunit known as ClpP, which are flanked by a hexameric ring of a regulatory subunit from the Clp/Hsp100 chaperone family at one or both ends. The recently resolved three-dimensional structure of the E. coli ClpP protein has provided new insights into its interaction with the regulatory/chaperone subunits. In addition, an increasing number of studies over the last few years have recognized the added complexity and functional importance of ClpP proteins in other eubacteria and, in particular, in photosynthetic organisms ranging from cyanobacteria to higher plants. The goal of this review is to summarize these recent findings and to highlight those areas that remain unresolved.

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