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Mol Cell. 2012 Jul 13;47(1):76-86. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2012.05.049.

A mutually inhibitory feedback loop between the 20S proteasome and its regulator, NQO1.

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Department of Biological Chemistry, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel.


NAD(P)H:quinone-oxidoreductase-1 (NQO1) is a cytosolic enzyme that catalyzes the reduction of various quinones using flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) as a cofactor. NQO1 has been also shown to rescue proteins containing intrinsically unstructured domains, such as p53 and p73, from degradation by the 20S proteasome through an unknown mechanism. Here, we studied the nature of interaction between NQO1 and the 20S proteasome. Our study revealed a double negative feedback loop between NQO1 and the 20S proteasome, whereby NQO1 prevents the proteolytic activity of the 20S proteasome and the 20S proteasome degrades the apo form of NQO1. Furthermore, we demonstrate, both in vivo and in vitro, that NQO1 levels are highly dependent on FAD concentration. These observations suggest a link between 20S proteolysis and the metabolic cellular state. More generally, the results may represent a regulatory mechanism by which associated cofactors dictate the stability of proteins, thus coordinating protein levels with the metabolic status.

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