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PLoS One. 2012;7(4):e34864. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0034864. Epub 2012 Apr 10.

Direct ubiquitin independent recognition and degradation of a folded protein by the eukaryotic proteasomes-origin of intrinsic degradation signals.

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1
Advanced Centre for Treatment, Research and Education in Cancer, Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India.

Abstract

Eukaryotic 26S proteasomes are structurally organized to recognize, unfold and degrade globular proteins. However, all existing model substrates of the 26S proteasome in addition to ubiquitin or adaptor proteins require unstructured regions in the form of fusion tags for efficient degradation. We report for the first time that purified 26S proteasome can directly recognize and degrade apomyoglobin, a globular protein, in the absence of ubiquitin, extrinsic degradation tags or adaptor proteins. Despite a high affinity interaction, absence of a ligand and presence of only helices/loops that follow the degradation signal, apomyoglobin is degraded slowly by the proteasome. A short floppy F-helix exposed upon ligand removal and in conformational equilibrium with a disordered structure is mandatory for recognition and initiation of degradation. Holomyoglobin, in which the helix is buried, is neither recognized nor degraded. Exposure of the floppy F-helix seems to sensitize the proteasome and primes the substrate for degradation. Using peptide panning and competition experiments we speculate that initial encounters through the floppy helix and additional strong interactions with N-terminal helices anchors apomyoglobin to the proteasome. Stabilizing helical structure in the floppy F-helix slows down degradation. Destabilization of adjacent helices accelerates degradation. Unfolding seems to follow the mechanism of helix unraveling rather than global unfolding. Our findings while confirming the requirement for unstructured regions in degradation offers the following new insights: a) origin and identification of an intrinsic degradation signal in the substrate, b) identification of sequences in the native substrate that are likely to be responsible for direct interactions with the proteasome, and c) identification of critical rate limiting steps like exposure of the intrinsic degron and destabilization of an unfolding intermediate that are presumably catalyzed by the ATPases. Apomyoglobin emerges as a new model substrate to further explore the role of ATPases and protein structure in proteasomal degradation.

PMID:
22506054
PMCID:
PMC3323579
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0034864
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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