Cellular Functions, Mechanism of Action, and Regulation of FtsH Protease

Annu Rev Microbiol. 2005;59:211-31. doi: 10.1146/annurev.micro.59.030804.121316.


FtsH is a cytoplasmic membrane protein that has N-terminally located transmembrane segments and a main cytosolic region consisting of AAA-ATPase and Zn2+-metalloprotease domains. It forms a homo-hexamer, which is further complexed with an oligomer of the membrane-bound modulating factor HflKC. FtsH degrades a set of short-lived proteins, enabling cellular regulation at the level of protein stability. FtsH also degrades some misassembled membrane proteins, contributing to their quality maintenance. It is an energy-utilizing and processive endopeptidase with a special ability to dislocate membrane protein substrates out of the membrane, for which its own membrane-embedded nature is essential. We discuss structure-function relationships of this intriguing enzyme, including the way it recognizes the soluble and membrane-integrated substrates differentially, on the basis of the solved structure of the ATPase domain as well as extensive biochemical and genetic information accumulated in the past decade on this enzyme.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • ATP-Dependent Proteases
  • Bacterial Proteins / chemistry
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Escherichia coli / enzymology*
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial*
  • Membrane Proteins / chemistry
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Substrate Specificity


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • ATP-Dependent Proteases
  • FtsH protein, E coli