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JOURNAL ARTICLE

The N-terminal methionine of cellular proteins as a degradation signal

Heon-Ki Kim, Ryu-Ryun Kim, Jang-Hyun Oh, Hanna Cho, Alexander Varshavsky, Cheol-Sang Hwang
Cell 2014 January 16, 156 (1): 158-69
24361105
The Arg/N-end rule pathway targets for degradation proteins that bear specific unacetylated N-terminal residues while the Ac/N-end rule pathway targets proteins through their N(α)-terminally acetylated (Nt-acetylated) residues. Here, we show that Ubr1, the ubiquitin ligase of the Arg/N-end rule pathway, recognizes unacetylated N-terminal methionine if it is followed by a hydrophobic residue. This capability of Ubr1 expands the range of substrates that can be targeted for degradation by the Arg/N-end rule pathway because virtually all nascent cellular proteins bear N-terminal methionine. We identified Msn4, Sry1, Arl3, and Pre5 as examples of normal or misfolded proteins that can be destroyed through the recognition of their unacetylated N-terminal methionine. Inasmuch as proteins bearing the Nt-acetylated N-terminal methionine residue are substrates of the Ac/N-end rule pathway, the resulting complementarity of the Arg/N-end rule and Ac/N-end rule pathways enables the elimination of protein substrates regardless of acetylation state of N-terminal methionine in these substrates.

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