Research Article

Formyl-methionine as an N-degron of a eukaryotic N-end rule pathway

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Science  08 Nov 2018:
eaat0174
DOI: 10.1126/science.aat0174

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Abstract

In bacteria, nascent proteins bear the pretranslationally generated N-terminal (Nt) formyl-methionine (fMet) residue. Nt-fMet of bacterial proteins is a degradation signal, termed fMet/N-degron. In contrast, proteins synthesized by cytosolic ribosomes of eukaryotes were presumed to bear unformylated Nt-Met. Here we found that the yeast formyltransferase Fmt1, although imported into mitochondria, could also produce Nt-formylated proteins in the cytosol. Nt-formylated proteins were strongly up-regulated in stationary phase or upon starvation for specific amino acids. This up-regulation strictly required the Gcn2 kinase, which phosphorylates Fmt1 and mediates its retention in the cytosol. We also found that the Nt-fMet residues of Nt-formylated proteins act as fMet/N-degrons, and identified the Psh1 ubiquitin ligase as the recognition component of this eukaryotic fMet/N-end rule pathway, which destroys Nt-formylated proteins.

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