Cryo-EM structure of the plant 26S proteasome

Susanne Kandolf, Irina Grishkovskaya, Katarina Belačić, Derek L. Bolhuis, Sascha Amann, Brent Foster, Richard Imre, Karl Mechtler, Alexander Schleiffer, Hemant D. Tagare, Ellen D. Zhong, Anton Meinhart, Nicholas G. Brown, David Haselbach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Targeted proteolysis is a hallmark of life. It is especially important in long-lived cells that can be found in higher eukaryotes, like plants. This task is mainly fulfilled by the ubiquitin–proteasome system. Thus, proteolysis by the 26S proteasome is vital to development, immunity, and cell division. Although the yeast and animal proteasomes are well characterized, there is only limited information on the plant proteasome. We determined the first plant 26S proteasome structure from Spinacia oleracea by single-particle electron cryogenic microscopy at an overall resolution of 3.3 Å. We found an almost identical overall architecture of the spinach proteasome compared with the known structures from mammals and yeast. Nevertheless, we noticed a structural difference in the proteolytic active β1 subunit. Furthermore, we uncovered an unseen compression state by characterizing the proteasome's conformational landscape. We suspect that this new conformation of the 20S core protease, in correlation with a partial opening of the unoccupied gate, may contribute to peptide release after proteolysis. Our data provide a structural basis for the plant proteasome, which is crucial for further studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100310
JournalPlant Communications
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 9 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Biotechnology
  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology


  • 26S proteasome
  • UPS
  • conformational landscape
  • cryo-EM
  • spinach


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