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Biol Direct. 2008 Nov 3;3:45. doi: 10.1186/1745-6150-3-45.

Unraveling the biochemistry and provenance of pupylation: a prokaryotic analog of ubiquitination.

Author information

1
National Center for Biotechnology Information, National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20894, USA. lakshmin@mail.nih.gov

Abstract

Recently Mycobacterium tuberculosis was shown to possess a novel protein modification, in which a small protein Pup is conjugated to the epsilon-amino groups of lysines in target proteins. Analogous to ubiquitin modification in eukaryotes, this remarkable modification recruits proteins for degradation via archaeal-type proteasomes found in mycobacteria and allied actinobacteria. While a mycobacterial protein named PafA was found to be required for this conjugation reaction, its biochemical mechanism has not been elucidated. Using sensitive sequence profile comparison methods we establish that the PafA family proteins are related to the gamma-glutamyl-cysteine synthetase and glutamine synthetase. Hence, we predict that PafA is the Pup ligase, which catalyzes the ATP-dependent ligation of the terminal gamma-carboxylate of glutamate to lysines, similar to the above enzymes. We further discovered that an ortholog of the eukaryotic PAC2 (e.g. cg2106) is often present in the vicinity of the actinobacterial Pup-proteasome gene neighborhoods and is likely to represent the ancestral proteasomal chaperone. Pup-conjugation is sporadically present outside the actinobacteria in certain lineages, such as verrucomicrobia, nitrospirae, deltaproteobacteria and planctomycetes, and in the latter two lineages it might modify membrane proteins.

REVIEWERS:

This article was reviewed by M. Madan Babu and Andrei Osterman.

PMID:
18980670
PMCID:
PMC2588565
DOI:
10.1186/1745-6150-3-45
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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