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Published July 19, 1990 | public
Journal Article

Cis-trans recognition and subunit-specific degradation of short-lived proteins


The N-end rule, a code that relates the metabolic stability of a protein to the identity of its ammo-terminal residue, is universal in that different versions of the N-end rule operate in mammals, yeast and bacteria (unpublished data). The N-end rule-based degradation signal comprises a destabilizing amino-terminal residue and a specific internal lysine residue. We now show that, in a multisubunit protein, these two determinants can be located on different subunits and still target the protein for destruction. Moreover, in this case (trans recognition) only the subunit that bears the lysine determinant is actually degraded. Thus an oligomeric protein can contain both short-lived and long-lived subunits. These insights have functional and practical implications.

Additional Information

© 1990 Nature Publishing Group. Received 18 January; accepted 10 May 1990. We thank members of our laboratory, especially B. Bartel, J. Dohmen, M. Hochstrasser, K. Madura, I. Ota and J. Tobias for comments on the manuscript, and B. Doran for secretarial assistance. This work was supported by the NIH (A.V.). E.S.J. was an NSF Predoctoral Fellow. D.K.G. was a Fellow of Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund for Medical Research.

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October 23, 2023