The Molecular Basis of N-End Rule Recognition

Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.
Molecular cell (Impact Factor: 14.46). 12/2008; 32(3):406-14. DOI: 10.1016/j.molcel.2008.08.032
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The N-end rule targets specific proteins for destruction in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Here, we report a crystal structure of a bacterial N-end rule adaptor, ClpS, bound to a peptide mimic of an N-end rule substrate. This structure, which was solved at a resolution of 1.15 A, reveals specific recognition of the peptide alpha-amino group via hydrogen bonding and shows that the peptide's N-terminal tyrosine side chain is buried in a deep hydrophobic cleft that pre-exists on the surface of ClpS. The adaptor side chains that contact the peptide's N-terminal residue are highly conserved in orthologs and in E3 ubiquitin ligases that mediate eukaryotic N-end rule recognition. We show that mutation of critical ClpS contact residues abrogates substrate delivery to and degradation by the AAA+ protease ClpAP, demonstrate that modification of the hydrophobic pocket results in altered N-end rule specificity, and discuss functional implications for the mechanism of substrate delivery.

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