Molecular organization of the 20S proteasome gene family from Arabidopsis thaliana

Hongyong Fu, Jed H. Doelling, Cassandra S. Arendt, Mark Hochstrasser, Richard D. Vierstra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


The 20S proteasome is the proteolytic complex in eukaryotes responsible for degrading short-lived and abnormal intracellular proteins, especially those targeted by ubiquitin conjugation. The 700-kD complex exists as a hollow cylinder comprising four stacked rings with the catalytic sites located in the lumen. The two outer rings and the two inner rings are composed of seven different α and β polypeptides, respectively, giving an α7/β7/β7/α7 symmetric organization. Here we describe the molecular organization of the 20S proteasome from the plant Arabidopsis thaliana. From an analysis of a collection of cDNA and genomic clones, we identified a superfamily of 23 genes encoding all 14 of the Arabidopsis proteasome subunits, designated PAA-PAG and PBA-PBG for Proteasome Alpha and Beta subunits A-G, respectively. Four of the subunits likely are encoded by single genes, and the remaining subunits are encoded by families of at least 2 genes. Expression of the α and β subunit genes appears to be coordinately regulated. Three of the nine Arabidopsis proteasome subunit genes tested, PAC1 (α3), PAE1 (α5) and PBC2 (β3), could functionally replace their yeast orthologs, providing the first evidence for cross-species complementation of 20S subunit genes. Taken together, these results demonstrate that the 20S proteasome is structurally and functionally conserved among eukaryotes and suggest that the subunit arrangement of the Arabidopsis 20S proteasome is similar if not identical to that recently determined for the yeast complex.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)677-692
Number of pages16
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1998


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