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J Biol Chem. 2005 Mar 25;280(12):11840-50. Epub 2005 Jan 20.

Overexpression of proteasome beta5 assembled subunit increases the amount of proteasome and confers ameliorated response to oxidative stress and higher survival rates.

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National Hellenic Research Foundation, Institute of Biological Research and Biotechnology, 48 Vasileos Constantinou Avenue, Athens 116 35, Greece.


The proteasome is the major cellular proteolytic machinery responsible for the degradation of both normal and damaged proteins. Proteasomes play a fundamental role in retaining cellular homeostasis. Alterations of proteasome function have been recorded in various biological phenomena including aging. We have recently shown that the decrease in proteasome activity in senescent human fibroblasts relates to the down-regulation of beta-type subunits. In this study we have followed our preliminary observation by developing and further characterizing a number of different human cell lines overexpressing the beta5 subunit. Stable overexpression of the beta5 subunit in WI38/T and HL60 cells resulted in elevated levels of other beta-type subunits and increased levels of all three proteasome activities. Immunoprecipitation experiments have shown increased levels of assembled proteasomes in stable clones. Analysis by gel filtration has revealed that the recorded higher level of proteasome assembly is directly linked to the efficient integration of "free" (not integrated) alpha-type subunits identified to accumulate in vector-transfected cells. In support we have also found low proteasome maturation protein levels in beta5 transfectants, thus revealing an increased rate/level of proteasome assembly in these cells as opposed to vector-transfected cells. Functional studies have shown that beta5-overexpressing cell lines confer enhanced survival following treatment with various oxidants. Moreover, we demonstrate that this increased rate of survival is due to higher degradation rates following oxidative stress. Finally, because oxidation is considered to be a major factor that contributes to aging and senescence, we have overexpressed the beta5 subunit in primary IMR90 human fibroblasts and observed a delay of senescence by 4-5 population doublings. In summary, these data demonstrate the phenotypic effects following genetic up-regulation of the proteasome and provide insights toward a better understanding of proteasome regulation.

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