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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2012 Mar 9;419(2):226-31. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2012.01.152. Epub 2012 Feb 13.

The N-terminal domain of Rpn4 serves as a portable ubiquitin-independent degron and is recognized by specific 19S RP subunits.

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  • 1Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute and Department of Oncology, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI 48201, USA.


The number of proteasomal substrates that are degraded without prior ubiquitylation continues to grow. However, it remains poorly understood how the proteasome recognizes substrates lacking a ubiquitin (Ub) signal. Here we demonstrated that the Ub-independent degradation of Rpn4 requires the 19S regulatory particle (RP). The Ub-independent degron of Rpn4 was mapped to an N-terminal region including the first 80 residues. Inspection of its amino acid sequence revealed that the Ub-independent degron of Rpn4 consists of an intrinsically disordered domain followed by a folded segment. Using a photo-crosslinking-label transfer method, we captured three 19S RP subunits (Rpt1, Rpn2 and Rpn5) that bind the Ub-independent degron of Rpn4. This is the first time that specific 19S RP subunits have been identified interacting with a Ub-independent degron. This study provides insight into the mechanism by which Ub-independent substrates are recruited to the 26S proteasome.

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