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Biophys J. 2000 Sep;79(3):1196-205.

A kinetic model of vertebrate 20S proteasome accounting for the generation of major proteolytic fragments from oligomeric peptide substrates.

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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Medizinische Fakultät (Charité), Institut für Biochemie, D-10117 Berlin, Germany.


There is now convincing evidence that the proteasome contributes to the generation of most of the peptides presented by major histocompatibility complex class I molecules. Here we present a model-based kinetic analysis of fragment patterns generated by the 20S proteasome from 20 to 40 residues long oligomeric substrates. The model consists of ordinary first-order differential equations describing the time evolution of the average probabilities with which fragments can be generated from a given initial substrate. First-order rate laws are used to describe the cleavage of peptide bonds and the release of peptides from the interior of the proteasome to the external space. Numerical estimates for the 27 unknown model parameters are determined across a set of five different proteins with known cleavage patterns. Testing the validity of the model by a jack knife procedure, about 80% of the observed fragments can be correctly identified, whereas the abundance of false-positive classifications is below 10%. From our theoretical approach, it is inferred that double-cleavage fragments of length 7-13 are predominantly cut out in "C-N-order" in that the C-terminus is generated first. This is due to striking differences in the further processing of the two fragments generated by the first cleavage. The upstream fragment exhibits a pronounced tendency to escape from second cleavage as indicated by a large release rate and a monotone exponential decline of peptide bond accessibility with increasing distance from the first scissile bond. In contrast, the release rate of the downstream fragment is about four orders of magnitude lower and the accessibility of peptide bonds shows a sharp peak in a distance of about nine residues from the first scissile bond. This finding strongly supports the idea that generation of fragments with well-defined lengths is favored in that temporary immobilization of the downstream fragment after the first cleavage renders it susceptible for a second cleavage.

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