BMB Reports 2019; 52(3): 163-164  https://doi.org/10.5483/BMBRep.2019.52.3.069
N-terminal formylmethionine as a novel initiator and N-degron of eukaryotic proteins
Jeong-Mok Kim1,2,*
1Department of Life Science, College of Natural Sciences, Hanyang University, Seoul 04763, 2Research Institute for Natural Sciences,
Hanyang University, Seoul 04763, Korea
Correspondence to: E-mail: jmokkim@hanyang.ac.kr
Received: March 5, 2019; Published online: March 31, 2019.
© Korean Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. All rights reserved.

cc This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abstract
The ribosomal synthesis of proteins in the eukaryotic cytosol has always been thought to start from the unformylated N-terminal (Nt) methionine (Met). In contrast, in virtually all nascent proteins in bacteria and eukaryotic organelles, such as mitochondria and chloroplasts, Nt-formyl-methionine (fMet) is the first building block of ribosomal synthesis. Through extensive approaches, including mass spectrometric analyses of the N-termini of proteins and molecular genetic techniques with an affinity-purified antibody for Nt-formylation, we investigated whether Nt-formylated proteins could also be produced and have their own metabolic fate in the cytosol of a eukaryote, such as yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We discovered that Nt-formylated proteins could be generated in the cytosol by yeast mitochondrial formyltransferase (Fmt1). These Nt-formylated proteins were massively upregulated in the stationary phase or upon starvation for specific amino acids and were crucial for the adaptation to specific stresses. The stress-activated kinase Gcn2 was strictly required for the upregulation of Nt-formylated proteins by regulating the activity of Fmt1 and its retention in the cytosol. We also found that the Nt-fMet residues of Nt-formylated proteins could be distinct N-terminal degradation signals, termed fMet/N-degrons, and that Psh1 E3 ubiquitin ligase mediated the selective destruction of Nt-formylated proteins as the recognition component of a novel eukaryotic fMet/N-end rule pathway, termed fMet/N-recognin.
Keywords: Formyltransferase, Gcn2, Methionine, Proteolysis, Psh1, Ubiquitin


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