Send to

Choose Destination
Biochem J. 1998 Jun 1;332 ( Pt 2):315-20.

Proteasome activities decrease during dexamethasone-induced apoptosis of thymocytes.

Author information

Department of Biochemistry, University of Leicester, Leicester LE1 7RH, U.K. and Department of Biochemistry, School of Medical Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1TD, UK.


The induction of apoptosis in thymocytes by the glucocorticoid dexamethasone was used as a model system to investigate whether there are changes in 20 S and 26 S proteasome activities during apoptosis. We observed that thymocytes contain high concentrations of proteasomes and that following treatment with dexamethasone, cell extracts showed a decrease in proteasome chymotrypsin-like activity which correlated with the degree of apoptosis observed. The decrease in chymotrypsin-like activity of 20 S and 26S proteasomes was still apparent after these complexes had been partially purified from apoptotic thymocyte extracts and was therefore not due to competition resulting from a general increase in protein turnover. The trypsin-like and peptidylglutamylpeptide hydrolase activities of proteasome complexes were also observed to decrease during apoptosis, but these decreases were reversed by the inhibition of apoptosis by the caspase inhibitor benzyloxycarbonyl-Val-Ala-Asp(OMe)-fluoromethylketone. However, the chymotrypsin-like activity of proteasomes decreased further in the presence of the apoptosis inhibitor. Val-Ala-Asp-fluoromethylketone was found to inhibit the chymotrypsin- and trypsin-like activity of 26 S proteasomes in vitro. The decrease in proteasome activities in apoptosis did not appear to be due to a decrease in the concentration of total cellular proteasomes. Thus, the early decreases in 20 S and 26 S proteasome activities during apoptosis appear to be due to a down-regulation of their proteolytic activities and not to a decrease in their protein concentration. These data suggest that proteasomes may be responsible, in thymocytes, for the turnover of a protein that functions as a positive regulator of apoptosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center