Importance of the different proteolytic sites of the proteasome and the efficacy of inhibitors varies with the protein substrate

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
Journal of Biological Chemistry (Impact Factor: 4.6). 03/2006; 281(13):8582-90. DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M509043200
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The relative importance of the different proteolytic sites in mammalian proteasomes in protein degradation has not been studied systematically. Nevertheless, it is widely assumed that inhibition of the chymotrypsin-like site, the primary target of the proteasome inhibitors used in research and cancer therapy, reflects the degree of inhibition of protein breakdown. Here we demonstrate that selective inactivation of the chymotrypsin-like site reduced degradation of model proteins by pure 26 S proteasomes by only 11-50% and decreased only slightly the breakdown of proteins in HeLa cells. Inactivation of the caspase-like site decreased breakdown of model proteins by 12-22% and of the trypsin-like site by 3-35%. The relative contributions of these different sites depended on the protein substrate, and the importance of the trypsin-like sites depended on the substrate's content of basic residues. Simultaneous inhibition of the chymotrypsin-like and the caspase- or trypsin-like sites was needed to reduce degradation by >50%. Thus, 1) all three types of active sites contribute significantly to protein breakdown, 2) their relative importance varies widely with the substrate, 3) assaying the chymotrypsin-like activity overestimates the actual reduction in protein degradation, and 4) inhibition of multiple sites is required to markedly decrease proteolysis.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Protein bodies (PB) are stable polymers naturally formed by certain seed storage proteins within the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). The human immunodeficiency virus negative factor (Nef) protein, a potential antigen for the development of an anti-viral vaccine, is highly unstable when introduced into the plant secretory pathway, probably because of folding defects in the ER environment. The aim of this study was to promote the formation of Nef-containing PB in tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) leaves by fusing the Nef sequence to the N-terminal domains of the maize storage protein gamma-zein or to the chimeric protein zeolin (which efficiently forms PB and is composed of the vacuolar storage protein phaseolin fused to the N-terminal domains of gamma-zein). Protein blots and pulse-chase indicate that fusions between Nef and the same gamma-zein domains present in zeolin are degraded by ER quality control. Consistently, a mutated zeolin, in which wild-type phaseolin was substituted with a defective version known to be degraded by ER quality control, is unstable in plant cells. Fusion of Nef to the entire zeolin sequence instead allows the formation of PB detectable by electron microscopy and subcellular fractionation, leading to zeolin-Nef accumulation higher than 1% of total soluble protein, consistently reproduced in independent transgenic plants. It is concluded that zeolin, but not its gamma-zein portion, has a positive dominant effect over ER quality control degradation. These results provide insights into the requirements for PB formation and avoidance of quality-control degradation, and indicate a strategy for enhancing foreign protein accumulation in plants.
    Journal of Experimental Botany 02/2008; 59(10):2815-29. DOI:10.1093/jxb/ern143 · 5.79 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Protein degradation is mediated predominantly through the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. The importance of the proteasome in regulating degradation of proteins involved in cell-cycle control, apoptosis, and angiogenesis led to the recognition of the proteasome as a therapeutic target for cancer . The importance of the proteasome for general cell homeostasis has been established, and the 2004 Nobel Prize for Chemistry honored the researchers that discovered the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. Robust, sensitive assays are essential for monitoring proteasome activity and for developing inhibitors of the proteasome. Peptide-conjugated fluorophores are widely used as substrates for monitoring proteasome activity, but fluorogenic substrates can exhibit significant background and can be problematic for screening because of cellular autoflorescence or fluorescent library compounds. To address these issues, we developed a homogeneous, bioluminescent method that combines peptide-conjugated aminoluciferin substrates and a stabilized luciferase. We have developed homogeneous, bioluminescent assays for all three proteasome activities, the chymotrypsin-like, trypsin-like, and caspase-like, using purified proteasome. We have also applied this technology to a cellular assay using the substrate for the chymotrypsin-like activity in combination with a selective membrane permeabilization step (patent pending). The proteasome assays are designed in a simple "add and read" format and have been tested in 96-and 384-well plates. The bioluminescent, coupled-enzyme format enables sensitive and rapid protease assays ideal for inhibitor screening.
    Methods in Molecular Biology 02/2008; 414:163-81. DOI:10.1007/978-1-59745-339-4_13 · 1.29 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The highly conserved ubiquitin-proteasome system is the principal machinery for extralysosomal protein degradation in eukaryotic cells. The 26S proteasome, a large multicatalytic multisubunit protease that processes cell proteins by limited and controlled proteolysis, constitutes the central proteolytic component of the ubiquitin-proteasome system. By processing cell proteins essential for development, differentiation, proliferation, cell cycling, apoptosis, gene transcription, signal transduction, senescence, and inflammatory and stress response, the 26S proteasome plays a key role in the regulation and maintenance of basic cellular processes. Various synthetic and biologic inhibitors with different inhibitory profiles towards the proteolytic activities of the 26S proteasome have been identified recently. Such proteasome inhibitors induce apoptosis and cell cycle arrest preferentially in neoplastic cells. Based on these findings proteasome inhibitors became useful in cancer therapy. However, under the pressure of continuous proteasome inhibition, eukaryotic cells can develop complex adaptive mechanisms to subvert the lethal attack of proteasome inhibitors. Such mechanisms include the adaptive modification of the proteasome system with increased expression, enhanced proteolytic activity and altered subcomplex assembly and subunit composition of proteasomes as well as the expression of a giant oligomeric protease complex, tripeptidyl peptidase II, which partially compensates for impaired proteasome function. Here we review the adaptive mechanisms developed by eukaryotic cells in response to proteasome inhibition. These mechanisms reveal enormous flexibility of the proteasome system and may have implications in cancer biology and therapy.
    Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 10/2007; 1773(9):1389-97. DOI:10.1016/j.bbamcr.2007.05.007 · 4.66 Impact Factor