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Rates of ubiquitin conjugation increase when muscles atrophy, largely through activation of the N-end rule pathwayThe rapid loss of muscle mass that accompanies many disease states, such as cancer or sepsis, is primarily a result of increased protein breakdown in muscle, and several observations have suggested an activation of the ubiquitin-proteasome system. Accordingly, in extracts of atrophying muscles from tumor-bearing or septic rats, rates of 125I-ubiquitin conjugation to endogenous proteins were found to be higher than in control extracts. On the other hand, in extracts of muscles from hypothyroid rats, where overall proteolysis is reduced below normal, the conjugation of 125I-ubiquitin to soluble proteins decreased by 50%, and treatment with triiodothyronine (T3) restored ubiquitination to control levels. Surprisingly, the N-end rule pathway, which selectively degrades proteins with basic or large hydrophobic N-terminal residues, was found to be responsible for most of these changes in ubiquitin conjugation. Competitive inhibitors of this pathway that specifically block the ubiquitin ligase, E3alpha, suppressed most of the increased ubiquitin conjugation in the muscle extracts from tumor-bearing and septic rats. These inhibitors also suppressed ubiquitination in normal extracts toward levels in hypothyroid extracts, which showed little E3alpha-dependent ubiquitination. Thus, the inhibitors eliminated most of the differences in ubiquitination under these different pathological conditions. Moreover, 125I-lysozyme, a model N-end rule substrate, was ubiquitinated more rapidly in extracts from tumor-bearing and septic rats, and more slowly in those from hypothyroid rats, than in controls. Thus, the rate of ubiquitin conjugation increases in atrophying muscles, and these hormone- and cytokine-dependent responses are in large part due to activation of the N-end rule pathway.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Solomon, V.
(Harvard Medical School Boston, MA 02115, United States)
Baracos, V.
Sarraf, P.
Goldberg, A. L.
Date Acquired
August 22, 2013
Publication Date
October 13, 1998
Publication Information
Publication: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume: 95
Issue: 21
ISSN: 0027-8424
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Distribution Limits
Non-NASA Center
NASA Discipline Musculoskeletal

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