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J Mol Biol. 2003 Mar 7;326(5):1437-48.

A comprehensive view on proteasomal sequences: implications for the evolution of the proteasome.

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  • 1Institute of Biochemistry, Medical Faculty Charité, Humboldt-University, D-10117, Berlin, Germany.


Proteasomes are large multimeric self-compartmentizing proteases, which play a crucial role in the clearance of misfolded proteins, breakdown of regulatory proteins, processing of proteins by specific partial proteolysis, cell cycle control as well as preparation of peptides for immune presentation. Two main types can be distinguished by their different tertiary structure: the 20S proteasome and the proteasome-like heat shock protein encoded by heat shock locus V, hslV. Usually, each biological kingdom is characterized by its specific type of proteasome. The 20S proteasomes occur in eukarya and archaea whereas hslV protease is prevalent in bacteria. To verify this rule we applied a genome-wide sequence search to identify proteasomal sequences in data of finished and yet unfinished genome projects. We found several exceptions to this paradigm: (1) Protista: in addition to the 20S proteasome, Leishmania, Trypanosoma and Plasmodium contained hslV, which may have been acquired from an alpha-proteobacterial progenitor of mitochondria. (2) Bacteria: for Magnetospirillum magnetotacticum and Enterococcus faecium we found that each contained two distinct hslVs due to gene duplication or horizontal transfer. Including unassembled data into the analyses we confirmed that a number of bacterial genomes do not contain any proteasomal sequence due to gene loss. (3) High G+C Gram-positives: we confirmed that high G+C Gram-positives possess 20S proteasomes rather than hslV proteases. The core of the 20S proteasome consists of two distinct main types of homologous monomers, alpha and beta, which differentiated into seven subtypes by further gene duplications. By looking at the genome of the intracellular pathogen Encephalitozoon cuniculi we were able to show that differentiation of beta-type subunits into different subtypes occurred earlier than that of alpha-subunits. Additionally, our search strategy had an important methodological consequence: a comprehensive sequence search for a particular protein should also include the raw sequence data when possible because proteins might be missed in the completed assembled genome. The structure-based multiple proteasomal alignment of 433 sequences from 143 organisms can be downloaded from the URL dagger and will be updated regularly.

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