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Mol Microbiol. 1999 Jan;31(1):79-87.

ClpP participates in the degradation of misfolded protein in Lactococcus lactis.

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Department of Dairy and Food Science, Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Frederiksberg, Denmark.


ClpP proteins constitute a family of homologous proteins found in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms. In Escherichia coli, ClpP is the proteolytic component of a large complex also containing either the ClpA or the ClpX ATPases. We show here that the clpP gene from the Gram-positive bacterium Lactococcus lactis encodes a 22-kDa protein that is induced by low pH and by the t-RNA analogue puromycin, which interferes with translation, resulting in the production of misfolded puromycyl-containing peptides. Northern blot and primer extension analysis showed that clpP expression is also induced by heat shock and that stress induction occurs at the transcriptional level independent of the CIRCE regulatory element often implicated in stress regulation in Gram-positive bacteria. When we disrupted the L. lactis clpP gene by insertional inactivation, the resulting mutant was more sensitive to both heat and puromycin than wild-type cells. Furthermore, cells lacking ClpP had a reduced ability to degrade puromycyl-containing peptides, and they synthesized heat shock proteins constitutively in the absence of stress. Thus, our data suggest that ClpP plays a major role in the degradation of misfolded proteins.

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