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J Biol Chem. 2009 Dec 4;284(49):34366-75. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M109.053017. Epub 2009 Sep 18.

Molecular determinants of MecA as a degradation tag for the ClpCP protease.

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Ministry of Education Protein Science Laboratory, Center for Structural Biology, School of Life Sciences, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China.


Regulated proteolysis by ATP-dependent proteases is universal in all living cells. In Bacillus subtilis, the degradation of the competence transcription factor ComK is mediated by a ternary complex involving the adaptor protein MecA and the ATP-dependent protease ClpCP. Here we demonstrate that a C-terminal, 98-amino acid domain of MecA (residues 121-218) serves as a non-recycling, degradation tag and targets a variety of fusion proteins to the ClpCP protease for degradation. MecA-(121-218) facilitates productive oligomerization of ClpC, stimulates the ATPase activity of ClpC, and allows the activated ClpC complex to stably associate with ClpP. Importantly, the ClpCP protease undergoes dynamic cycles of assembly and disassembly, which are triggered by association with MecA and the degradation of MecA, respectively.

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