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Biomol Concepts. 2015 Aug;6(4):285-301. doi: 10.1515/bmc-2015-0017.

Pupylation-dependent and -independent proteasomal degradation in mycobacteria.


Bacteria make use of compartmentalizing protease complexes, similar in architecture but not homologous to the eukaryotic proteasome, for the selective and processive removal of proteins. Mycobacteria as members of the actinobacteria harbor proteasomes in addition to the canonical bacterial degradation complexes. Mycobacterial proteasomal degradation, although not essential during normal growth, becomes critical for survival under particular environmental conditions, like, for example, during persistence of the pathogenic Mycobacterium tuberculosis in host macrophages or of environmental mycobacteria under starvation. Recruitment of protein substrates for proteasomal degradation is usually mediated by pupylation, the post-translational modification of lysine side chains with the prokaryotic ubiquitin-like protein Pup. This substrate recruitment strategy is functionally reminiscent of ubiquitination in eukaryotes, but is the result of convergent evolution, relying on chemically and structurally distinct enzymes. Pupylated substrates are recognized by the ATP-dependent proteasomal regulator Mpa that associates with the 20S proteasome core. A pupylation-independent proteasome degradation pathway has recently been discovered that is mediated by the ATP-independent bacterial proteasome activator Bpa (also referred to as PafE), and that appears to play a role under stress conditions. In this review, mechanistic principles of bacterial proteasomal degradation are discussed and compared with functionally related elements of the eukaryotic ubiquitin-proteasome system. Special attention is given to an understanding on the molecular level based on structural and biochemical analysis. Wherever available, discussion of in vivo studies is included to highlight the biological significance of this unusual bacterial degradation pathway.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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