Purification of the Arabidopsis 26 S proteasome: Biochemical and molecular analyses revealed the presence of multiple isoforms

Peizhen Yang, Hongyong Fu, Joseph Walker, Charles M. Papa, Jan Smalle, Yu Ming Ju, Richard D. Vierstra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

142 Scopus citations


The 26 S proteasome is a multisubunit protease complex responsible for degrading a wide range of intracellular proteins in eukaryotes, especially those modified with polyubiquitin chains. It is composed of a self-compartmentalized core protease (CP) that houses the peptidase active sites appended on either or both ends by a regulatory particle (RP) that identifies appropriate substrates and translocates them into the lumen of the CP for breakdown. Here, we describe the molecular and biochemical properties of the 26 S proteasome from the plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Like the CP and the ATPase ring of the RP, the RP non-ATPase subunits are often encoded by two transcriptionally active genes with some pairs displaying sufficient sequence divergence to suggest functional differences. Most RPN subunits could functionally replace their yeast counterparts, implying that they have retained their positions and activities within the complex. A method was developed to purify the 26 S proteasome intact from whole Arabidopsis seedlings. These preparations are biochemically indistinguishable from those from yeast and mammals, including the need for ATP to maintain integrity and a strong sensitivity to the inhibitors MG115, MG132, lactacystin, and epoxomicin. Mass spectrometric analysis of the complex detected the presence of almost all CP and RP subunits. In many cases, both products of paralogous genes were detected, demonstrating that each isoform assembles into the mature particle. As with the yeast and animal 26 S proteasomes, attenuation of individual RP genes induces a coordinated up-regulation of many of the other 26 S proteasome genes, suggesting that plants contain a negative feedback mechanism to regulate the 26 S proteasome levels. The incorporation of paralogous subunits into the Arabidopsis holoprotease raises the intriguing possibility that plants synthesize multiple 26 S proteasome types with unique properties and/or target specificities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6401-6413
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number8
StatePublished - Feb 20 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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