Cellular and viral Fos proteins are degraded by different proteolytic systems

Acquaviva, C.; Salvat, C.; Brockly, F.; Bossis, G.; Ferrara, P.; Piechaczyk, M.; Jariel-Encontre, I.


2001-02-22 / vol 20 / pages 942-50


c-Fos proto-oncoprotein is a short-lived transcription factor degraded by the proteasome in vivo. Its mutated forms expressed by the mouse osteosarcomatogenic retroviruses, FBJ-MSV and FBR-MSV, are stabilized two- and threefold, respectively. To elucidate the mechanisms underlying v-Fos(FBJ) and v-Fos(FBR) protein stabilization, we conducted a genetic analysis in which the half-lives and the sensitivities to various cell-permeable protease inhibitors of a variety of cellular and viral protein mutants were measured. Our data showed that the decreased degradation of v-Fos(FBJ) and v-Fos(FBR) is not simply explained by the deletion of a c-Fos destabilizing C-terminal domain. Rather, it involves a complex balance between opposing destabilizing and stabilizing mutations which are distinct and which include virally-introduced peptide motifs in both cases. The mutations in viral Fos proteins conferred both total insensitivity to proteasomal degradation and sensitivity to another proteolytic system not naturally operating on c-Fos, explaining the limited stabilization of the two proteins. This observation is consistent with the idea that FBR-MSV and FBJ-MSV expression machineries have evolved to ensure controlled protein levels. Importantly, our data illustrate that the degradation of unstable proteins does not necessarily involve the proteasome and provide support to the notion that highly related proteins can be broken down by different proteolytic systems in living cells.

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Animals; Amino Acid Sequence; Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos/*metabolism; Protein Structure, Tertiary; Protein Processing, Post-Translational; Point Mutation; Half-Life; Sequence Deletion; COS Cells; Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex; Cysteine Endopeptidases/metabolism; Multienzyme Complexes/metabolism; Frameshift Mutation; Myristic Acid/metabolism; Oncogene Proteins v-fos/genetics/*metabolism; Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology; Sarcoma Viruses, Murine/genetics

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