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EMBO J. 1996 Jan 15;15(2):437-44.

Bacteriophage Mu repressor as a target for the Escherichia coli ATP-dependent Clp Protease.

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Laboratorie de Génétique des Procaryotes, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Genese, Belgium.


Bacteriophage Mu repressor, which is stable in its wildtype form, can mutate to become sensitive to its Escherichia coli host ATP-dependent ClpXP protease. We further investigated the determinants of the mutant repressor's sensitivity to Clp. We show the crucial importance of a C-terminal, seven amino acid long sequence in which a single change is sufficient to decrease the rate of degradation of the protein. The sequence was fused at the C-terminal end of the CcdB and CcdA proteins encoded by plasmid F. CcdB, which is naturally stable, was unaffected, while CcdA, which is normally degraded by the Lon protease, became a substrate for ClpXP while remaining a substrate for Lon. In agreement with the current hypothesis on the mechanism of recognition of their substrates by energy- dependent proteases, these results support the existence, on the substrate polypeptides, of separate motifs responsible for recognition and cleavage by the protease.

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