IMAJ | volume
Journal 4, April 2006
Ubiquitin-proteasome degradation is a key cellular process involved in almost every aspect of cell life. According to the current concept, proteins are stable unless they are marked by poly-ubiquitination for degradation by the 26S proteasomes. A new twist in the concept became evident while studying the degradation of the tumor suppressor p53, a protein that appeared to satisfy this principle. We have discovered that native p53 is also prone to ubiquitin-independent 20S proteasomal degradation, suggesting that certain proteins are inherently unstable. We further found that this process of degradation is mediated by 20S proteasomes and inhibited by NADH quinone oxidoreductase 1. Our recent findings together with previous observations of ubiquitin-independent degradation suggest the existence of ubiquitin-independent mechanisms for proteasomal protein degradation in the cells.