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PLoS One. 2013 Aug 6;8(8):e70357. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0070357. Print 2013.

Integrity of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae Rpn11 protein is critical for formation of proteasome storage granules (PSG) and survival in stationary phase.

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Univ Paris-Sud, CNRS UMR 8621, Institut de Génétique et Microbiologie, Orsay, France.


Decline of proteasome activity has been reported in mammals, flies and yeasts during aging. In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the reduction of proteolysis in stationary phase is correlated with disassembly of the 26S proteasomes into their 20S and 19S subcomplexes. However a recent report showed that upon entry into the stationary phase, proteasome subunits massively re-localize from the nucleus into mobile cytoplasmic structures called proteasome storage granules (PSGs). Whether proteasome subunits in PSG are assembled into active complexes remains an open question that we addressed in the present study. We showed that a particular mutant of the RPN11 gene (rpn11-m1), encoding a proteasome lid subunit already known to exhibit proteasome assembly/stability defect in vitro, is unable to form PSGs and displays a reduced viability in stationary phase. Full restoration of long-term survival and PSG formation in rpn11-m1 cells can be achieved by the expression in trans of the last 45 amino acids of the C-terminal domain of Rpn11, which was moreover found to co-localize with PSGs. In addition, another rpn11 mutant leading to seven amino acids change in the Rpn11 C-terminal domain, which exhibits assembled-26S proteasomes, is able to form PSGs but with a delay compared to the wild type situation. Altogether, our findings indicate that PSGs are formed of fully assembled 26S proteasomes and suggest a critical role for the Rpn11 protein in this process.

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