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Exp Cell Res. 2004 Aug 1;298(1):229-38.

Pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate and zinc inhibit proteasome-dependent proteolysis.

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Brain Korea 21 Project for Medical Science, Brain Research Institute, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul 120-752, South Korea.


Proteasomes play important roles in a variety of cellular processes such as cell cycle progression, signal transduction and immune responses. Proteasome activity is important in maintaining rapid turnover of short-lived proteins, as well as preventing accumulation of misfolded or damaged proteins. Alteration in ubiquitin-proteasome function may be detrimental to its crucial role in maintaining cellular homeostasis. Here, we have found that treatment of pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate (PDTC), a zinc ionophore, resulted in the accumulation of several proteasome substrates including p53 and p21 in HeLa cells. The PDTC effect was due to an extended half-life of these proteins through the mobilization of zinc. PDTC and/or zinc also increased fluorescence intensity of Ub(G76V)-GFP fusion protein that is degraded rapidly by the ubiquitin-proteasome system. Treatment of cells with zinc induced formation of ubiquitinated inclusions in the centrosome, a histological marker of proteasome inhibition. Western blotting showed zinc-induced increase in laddering bands of polyubiquitin-conjugated proteins. In vitro study, zinc inhibited the ubiquitin-independent proteasomal degradations of p21 and alpha-synuclein. These results suggest that zinc may modulate cell functions through its action on the turnover of proteins that are susceptible to proteasome-dependent proteolysis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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