less than 1 minute read

We recently published “Understanding the 26S proteasome molecular machine from a structural and conformational dynamics perspective” in Current Opinion in Structural Biology.

The 26S proteasome is the essential compartmental protease in eukaryotic cells required for the ubiquitin-dependent clearance of damaged polypeptides and obsolete regulatory proteins. Recently, a combination of high-resolution structural, biochemical, and biophysical studies has provided crucial new insights into the mechanisms of this fascinating molecular machine. A multitude of new cryo-electron microscopy structures provided snapshots of the proteasome during ATP-hydrolysis-driven substrate translocation, and detailed biochemical studies revealed the timing of individual degradation steps, elucidating the mechanisms for substrate selection and the commitment to degradation through conformational transitions. It was uncovered how ubiquitin removal from substrates is mechanically coupled to degradation, and cryo-electron tomography studies gave a glimpse of active proteasomes inside the cell, their subcellular localization, and interactions with protein aggregates. Here, we summarize these advances in our mechanistic understanding of the proteasome, with a particular focus on how its structural features and conformational transitions enable the multi-step degradation process.