A model for the quaternary structure of the proteasome activator PA28

Xiaoling Song, Joni D. Mott, Jan Von Kampen, Bikash Pramanik, Keiji Tanaka, Clive A. Slaughter, George N. DeMartino

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67 Scopus citations


PA28 is a protein activator of the 20S proteasome. It has a native molecular weight of approximately 200,000 and is composed of six 28,000- dalton subunits arranged in a ring-shaped complex. Purified preparations of PA28 contain two polypeptides, α and β, which are about 50% identical in primary structure. It has been unclear whether native PA28 consists of two distinct homohexameric proteins or of a single protein containing both and β subunits. To distinguish between these possibilities, we prepared antibodies that reacted specifically with either the α or β subunit and used these subunit-specific antibodies in two types of experiments designed to elucidate PA28 quaternary structure. In the first experiment, the α and β subunits were completely co-immunoprecipitated by each subunit-specific antibody, indicating that both subunits were part of a single protein complex. In the second experiment, PA28 was chemically cross-linked using bis(sulfosuccinimidyl)suberate. When the cross-linked products were immunoblotted after SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, indistinguishable patterns were obtained with each subunit-specific antibody. These results confirm that the α and β subunits were part of the same protein complex. The pattern of cross-linked products also provided insight as to the relative abundance and arrangement of the subunits within the PA28 complex and indicated that the ring-shaped PA28 hexamer may be composed of alternating α and β subunits with a stoichiometry of (αβ)3. PA28 was inactivated by treatment with carboxypeptidase Y, which cleaved Tyr and Ile residues from the carboxyl terminus of the α subunit but had very little effect on the β subunit. This selective and limited proteolysis prevented binding of both α and β subunits to the proteasome and therefore provides additional evidence of the heterodimeric nature of PA28. These results indicate that a short carboxyl-terminal sequence of the α subunit is critical for binding of native PA28 to the proteasome. To learn about the relative functions of the and β subunits, PA28α was expressed in Escherichia coli and purified to homogeneity. Purified PA28α stimulated proteasome activity but required 5- 10-fold greater concentrations than the heterodimeric PA28 to achieve a given level of activity. These results suggest that the heterodimeric structure of PA28 is required for maximal proteasome activation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26410-26417
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number42
StatePublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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