The proteasome and its role in nuclear protein maintenance

Exp Gerontol. 2007 Sep;42(9):864-70. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2007.03.010. Epub 2007 Apr 10.


The cellular proteome is in a dynamic state of synthesis and degradation. Degradation of extracellular proteins is mainly mediated non-specifically by the lysosomes or due to released proteases, while the proteolysis of intracellular including nuclear proteins is catalyzed by the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. Furthermore, the proteasomal system is largely responsible for the removal of unfolded and oxidatively damaged proteins. Taking into account the role of ubiquitin and proteasome system in protein metabolism, studies of its spatial organization within the cell are of great importance. For the understanding of cellular, including nuclear, protein maintenance the distribution of the proteasomes in both the nucleus and the cytosol and their response upon oxidative stress is of great interest. Although, the functional diversity of the cells is ensured by the three dimensional organization of the nucleus, nuclear proteins are also prone to oxidation and have to be removed from the cellular environment by the nuclear proteasome. Interestingly, nuclear proteins are partly degraded within the nucleus, whereas some are exported from the nucleus to the cytosol. Proteasomes are transported unidirectionally from the cytoplasm to the nucleus with a possible countervail during mitosis. This review is focused largely on the specifics of cellular proteasome distribution and on nuclear protein maintenance under physiological and oxidative stress conditions.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Cell Nucleus / enzymology*
  • Cellular Senescence / physiology
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism*
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex / metabolism*
  • Ubiquitin / metabolism


  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Ubiquitin
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex