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EMBO J. 2004 Feb 11;23(3):500-10. Epub 2004 Jan 22.

Plasticity in eucaryotic 20S proteasome ring assembly revealed by a subunit deletion in yeast.

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Department of Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA.


The 20S proteasome is made up of four stacked heptameric rings, which in eucaryotes assemble from 14 different but related subunits. The rules governing subunit assembly and placement are not understood. We show that a different kind of proteasome forms in yeast when the Pre9/alpha3 subunit is deleted. Purified pre9Delta proteasomes show a two-fold enrichment for the Pre6/alpha4 subunit, consistent with the presence of an extra copy of Pre6 in each outer ring. Based on disulfide engineering and structure-guided suppressor analyses, Pre6 takes the position normally occupied by Pre9, a substitution that depends on a network of intersubunit salt bridges. When Arabidopsis PAD1/alpha4 is expressed in yeast, it complements not only pre6Delta but also pre6Delta pre9Delta mutants; therefore, the plant alpha4 subunit also can occupy multiple positions in a functional yeast proteasome. Importantly, biogenesis of proteasomes is delayed at an early stage in pre9Delta cells, suggesting an advantage for Pre9 over Pre6 incorporation at the alpha3 position that facilitates correct assembly.

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