Atomic force microscopy reveals two conformations of the 20 S proteasome from fission yeast

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53 Scopus citations


The proteasome is a major cytosolic proteolytic complex, indispensable in eukaryotic cells. The barrel-shaped core of this enzyme, the 20 S proteasome, is built from 28 subunits forming four stacked rings. The two inner β-rings harbor active centers, whereas the two outer α-rings play a structural role. Crystal structure of the yeast 20 S particle showed that the entrance to the central channel was sealed. Because of this result, the path of substrates into the catalytic chamber has remained enigmatic. We have used tapping mode atomic force microscopy (AFM) in liquid to address the dynamic aspects of the 20 S proteasomes from fission yeast. We present here evidence that, when observed with AFM, the proteasome particles in top view position have either open or closed entrance to the central channel. The preferred conformation depends on the ligands present. Apparently, the addition of a substrate to the uninhibited proteasome shifts the equilibrium toward the open conformation. These results shed new light on the possible path of the substrate into the proteolytic chamber.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13171-13174
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number18
StatePublished - May 5 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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