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Eur J Biochem. 1986 Jan 2;154(1):193-6.

Sequence determinants of cytosolic N-terminal protein processing.


N-terminal methionine removal has been analyzed statistically in a large sample of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cytosolic proteins in an attempt to uncover common sequence determinants. We find that the residue next to the initiator Met is the most important determinant of N-terminal processing: Lys, Arg, Leu and (in prokaryotes) Phe and Ile protect the initiator Met from being removed when next to it in the sequence; Ala, Gly, Pro, Ser, Thr and (in eukaryotes) Val in this position cause its removal. Subsequent acetylation is confirmed to be strongly biased towards Ala, Met and Ser residues; when Met is acetylated, Asp is the predominant penultimate residue in eukaryotes. Also, we find major differences in the relative abundance of the various residues next to the initiator Met between prokaryotes and eukaryotes: prokaryotic proteins are much more biased towards Lys as the Met-protecting residue, and towards Ala when met is to be removed, than eukaryotic ones. Finally, we show that our results can explain a part of the mRNA 'consensus sequence' found around eukaryotic initiator AUG codons.

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