What is it about?

The proteasome is a molecular machine inside all of our cells that unfolds and degrades proteins the cell doesn't want anymore. As part of the degradation process, the proteasome switches from a conformation or shape that can accept proteins to be degraded to a conformation better suited for pulling the substrates into a central degradation chamber. In this work we used a fluorescence technique to examine the proteasome's conformation and found that making changes to the proteasome that disfavor the pulling conformation also decrease the proteasome's ability to unfold and degrade substrates.

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Why is it important?

The proteasome is an important drug target in diseases ranging from cancer to neurodegeneration. Current drugs inhibit the proteasome. Controlling the proteasome's conformation might be a way to affect which proteins get degraded by the proteasome without completely inhibiting it.

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This page is a summary of: Proteasomal conformation controls unfolding ability, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, June 2021, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2101004118.
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