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Mol Cell. 2007 Sep 7;27(5):731-44.

Docking of the proteasomal ATPases' carboxyl termini in the 20S proteasome's alpha ring opens the gate for substrate entry.

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Department of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School, 240 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


The 20S proteasome functions in protein degradation in eukaryotes together with the 19S ATPases or in archaea with the homologous PAN ATPase complex. These ATPases contain a conserved C-terminal hydrophobic-tyrosine-X motif (HbYX). We show that these residues are essential for PAN to associate with the 20S and open its gated channel for substrate entry. Upon ATP binding, these C-terminal residues bind to pockets between the 20S's alpha subunits. Seven-residue or longer peptides from PAN's C terminus containing the HbYX motif also bind to these sites and induce gate opening in the 20S. Gate opening could be induced by C-terminal peptides from the 19S ATPase subunits, Rpt2, and Rpt5, but not by ones from PA28/26, which lack the HbYX motif and cause gate opening by distinct mechanisms. C-terminal residues in the 19S ATPases were also shown to be critical for gating and stability of 26S proteasomes. Thus, the C termini of the proteasomal ATPases function like a "key in a lock" to induce gate opening and allow substrate entry.

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