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Biochem J. 2011 Apr 1;435(1):167-74. doi: 10.1042/BJ20101613.

A new principle of oligomerization of plant DEG7 protease based on interactions of degenerated protease domains.

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Department of Physiology and Plant Biochemistry, University of Konstanz, Universitätsstrasse 10, D-78457 Konstanz, Germany.


Deg/HtrA proteases are a large group of ATP-independent serine endoproteases found in almost every organism. Their usual domain arrangement comprises a trypsin-type protease domain and one or more PDZ domains. All Deg/HtrA proteases form homo-oligomers with trimers as the basic unit, where the active protease domain mediates the interaction between individual monomers. Among the members of the Deg/HtrA protease family, the plant protease DEG7 is unique since it contains two protease domains (one active and one degenerated) and four PDZ domains. In the present study, we investigated the oligomerization behaviour of this unusual protease using yeast two-hybrid analysis in vivo and with recombinant protein in vitro. We show that DEG7 forms trimeric complexes, but in contrast with other known Deg/HtrA proteases, it shows a new principle of oligomerization, where trimerization is based on the interactions between degenerated protease domains. We propose that, during evolution, a duplicated active protease domain degenerated and specialized in protein-protein interaction and complex formation.

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