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CAT-tailing as a fail-safe mechanism for efficient degradation of stalled nascent polypeptides

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Science  28 Jul 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6349, pp. 414-417
DOI: 10.1126/science.aam7787

A tale of CAT tails

When protein translation fails, the incomplete nascent polypeptide is targeted for degradation by the highly conserved ribosome-associated quality control complex (RQC). Mutations in RQC components lead to stress at the cellular level and neurodegeneration at the organismal level. Recent studies have shown that RQC tags partially synthesize proteins with C-terminal alanine and threonine (CAT) tails in an unusual elongation reaction. Working in yeast, Kostova et al. elucidated the role of this process. CAT-tailing is a fail-safe mechanism to ensure the degradation of partially synthesized proteins. The elongation process appears to “push” lysines out of the ribosome exit tunnel, which allows them to be marked by ubiquitin degradation signals.

Science, this issue p. 414

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