Purification and characterization of a protein inhibitor of the 20S proteasome (macropain)

Ma Chu-Ping, Clive A. Slaughter, George N. DeMartino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

124 Scopus citations


An inhibitory protein for the 20S proteasome (also known as macropain, the multicatalytic proteinase complex and 20S proteinase) has been purified from bovine red blood cells. The inhibitor has an apparent molecular weight of 31 000 on SDS-PAGE and appears to form multimers under nondenaturing conditions. This protein inhibited all three of the putatively distinct catalytic activities of proteasome A (the active form of the proteinase) characterized by the hydrolysis of synthetic peptides such as Z-VLR-MN, Z-GGL-AMCA or Suc-LLVY-AMC and Z-LLE-βNA. The inhibitor also prevented the hydrolysis of large protein substrates such as casein, lysozyme and bovine serum albumin. Proteasome L (the latent form of the proteinase) does not degrade these large protein substrates, but does hydrolyze the three synthetic peptides at rates similar to those by proteasome A. The inhibitor inhibited only two of these peptidase activities of proteasome L (hydrolysis of Z-GGL-AMC and of Z-LLE-βNA or Suc-LLVY-AMC); it had no effect on the hydrolysis of Z-VLR-MNA. The inhibitor was specific for inhibition of the proteasome and had no effect on the activity of any other proteinase tested including trypsin, chymotrypsin, papain, subtilisin and both isoforms of calpain. Kinetic analysis indicates that the inhibitor interacted with the proteasome by a mechanism involving tight-binding. Because the proteasome appears to be a key compnent of the ATP/ubiquitin-dependent pathway of intracellular protein degradation, the inhibitor may represent an important regulatory protein of this pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-311
Number of pages9
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA)/Protein Structure and Molecular
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 12 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • Macropain
  • Multicatalytic proteinase
  • Proteasome
  • Proteinase inhibitor
  • Ubiquitin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Purification and characterization of a protein inhibitor of the 20S proteasome (macropain)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this