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J Bacteriol. 2008 Dec;190(24):8096-105. doi: 10.1128/JB.01180-08. Epub 2008 Oct 17.

Proteasomal components required for cell growth and stress responses in the haloarchaeon Haloferax volcanii.

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Department of Microbiology and Cell Science, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-0700, USA.


Little is known regarding the biological roles of archaeal proteases. The haloarchaeon Haloferax volcanii is an ideal model for understanding these enzymes, as it is one of few archaea with an established genetic system. In this report, a series of H. volcanii mutant strains with markerless and/or conditional knockouts in each known proteasome gene was systematically generated and characterized. This included single and double knockouts of genes encoding the 20S core alpha1 (psmA), beta (psmB), and alpha2 (psmC) subunits as well as genes (panA and panB) encoding proteasome-activating nucleotidase (PAN) proteins closely related to the regulatory particle triple-A ATPases (Rpt) of eukaryotic 26S proteasomes. Our results demonstrate that 20S proteasomes are required for growth. Although synthesis of 20S proteasomes containing either alpha1 or alpha2 could be separately abolished via gene knockout with little to no impact on growth, conditional depletion of either beta alone or alpha1 and alpha2 together rendered the cells inviable. In contrast, the PAN proteins were not essential based on the robust growth of the panA panB double knockout strain. Deletion of genes encoding either alpha1 or PanA did, however, render cells more sensitive to growth on organic versus inorganic nitrogen sources and hypo-osmotic stress and limited growth in the presence of l-canavanine. Abolishment of alpha1 synthesis also had a severe impact on the ability of cells to withstand thermal stress. This contrasted with what was seen for panA knockouts, which displayed enhanced thermotolerance. Together, these results provide new and important insight into the biological role of proteasomes in archaea.

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