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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2014 Jan;1843(1):216-21. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamcr.2013.05.008. Epub 2013 May 14.

Ubiquitin-independent proteasomal degradation.

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Department of Microbiology & Immunology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94127, USA.


Most proteasome substrates are marked for degradation by ubiquitin conjugation, but some are targeted by other means. The properties of these exceptional cases provide insights into the general requirements for proteasomal degradation. Here the focus is on three ubiquitin-independent substrates that have been the subject of detailed study. These are Rpn4, a transcriptional regulator of proteasome homeostasis, thymidylate synthase, an enzyme required for production of DNA precursors and ornithine decarboxylase, the initial enzyme committed to polyamine biosynthesis. It can be inferred from these cases that proteasome association and the presence of an unstructured region are the sole prerequisites for degradation. Based on that inference, artificial substrates have been designed to test the proteasome's capacity for substrate processing and its limitations. Ubiquitin-independent substrates may in some cases be a remnant of the pre-ubiquitome world, but in other cases could provide optimized regulatory solutions. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Ubiquitin-Proteasome System. Guest Editors: Thomas Sommer and Dieter H. Wolf.


Degradation; Degron; Intrinsically disordered proteins; Ornithine decarboxylase; Proteasome; Protein disorder; Rpn4; Thymidylate synthase; Ubiquitin

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