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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1982 Nov 24;719(2):377-87.

The degradation of endogenous and exogenous proteins in cultured smooth muscle cells.


The pathways of degradation followed by endogenous proteins in cultured smooth muscle cells were compared with the well-characterized lysosomal pathway involved in the degradation of apolipoprotein B of endocytosed LDL. Under conditions in which lysosomal activity towards 125I-labeled LDL was almost completely inhibited by chloroquine and/or ammonium chloride, the degradation of short-lived and abnormal proteins, assessed by the release of [3H]phenylalanine, was reduced by only 10-17%. The basal rate of degradation of long-lived proteins was reduced by about 30% by the same inhibitors while the accelerated proteolysis found under nutrient-poor conditions could be completely accounted for by the lysosomal system as defined by these lysosomotrophic agents. Temperature studies indicated differences between the mechanisms involved in the degradation of long-lived proteins (Ea = 18 kcal/mol) and short-lived proteins (Ea = 10 kcal/mol). Arrhenius plots for the degradation of endogenous proteins showed no transitions between 15 and 37 degrees C in contrast to the breakdown of LDL which ceased below 20 degrees C. The results indicate that the degradation of rapid-turnover proteins is largely extralysosomal and that a significant breakdown of long-lived proteins occurs also outside lysosomes.

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