American Chemical Society
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ClpP Hydrolyzes a Protein Substrate Processively in the Absence of the ClpA ATPase: Mechanistic Studies of ATP-Independent Proteolysis

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journal contribution
posted on 2008-11-04, 00:00 authored by Laura D. Jennings, Desmond S. Lun, Muriel Médard, Stuart Licht
ATP-dependent proteases are processive, meaning that they degrade full-length proteins into small peptide products without releasing large intermediates along the reaction pathway. In the case of the bacterial ATP-dependent protease ClpAP, ATP hydrolysis by the ClpA component has been proposed to be required for processive proteolysis of full-length protein substrates. We present here data showing that in the absence of the ATPase subunit ClpA, the protease subunit ClpP can degrade full-length protein substrates processively, albeit at a greatly reduced rate. Moreover, the size distribution of peptide products from a ClpP-catalyzed digest is remarkably similar to the size distribution of products from a ClpAP-catalyzed digest. The ClpAP- and ClpP-generated peptide product size distributions are fitted well by a sum of multiple underlying Gaussian peaks with means at integral multiples of ∼900 Da (7−8 amino acids). Our results are consistent with a mechanism in which ClpP controls product sizes by alternating between translocation in steps of 7−8 (±2−3) amino acid residues and proteolysis. On the structural and molecular level, the step size may be controlled by the spacing between the ClpP active sites, and processivity may be achieved by coupling peptide bond hydrolysis to the binding and release of substrate and products in the protease chamber.