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Experientia. 1992 Feb 15;48(2):178-201.

Proteases and protein degradation in Escherichia coli.

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Laboratory of Cell Biology, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.


In E. coli, protein degradation plays important roles in regulating the levels of specific proteins and in eliminating damaged or abnormal proteins. E. coli possess a very large number of proteolytic enzymes distributed in the cytoplasm, the inner membrane, and the periplasm, but, with few exceptions, the physiological functions of these proteases are not known. More than 90% of the protein degradation occurring in the cytoplasm is energy-dependent, but the activities of most E. coli proteases in vitro are not energy-dependent. Two ATP-dependent proteases, Lon and Clp, are responsible for 70-80% of the energy-dependent degradation of proteins in vivo. In vitro studies with Lon and Clp indicate that both proteases directly interact with substrates for degradation. ATP functions as an allosteric effector promoting an active conformation of the proteases, and ATP hydrolysis is required for rapid catalytic turnover of peptide bond cleavage in proteins. Lon and Clp show virtually no homology at the amino acid level, and thus it appears that at least two families of ATP-dependent proteases have evolved independently.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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