The ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) is a major degradation system for regulatory and misfolded proteins. UPS function has been implicated to exert a central role in the pathogenesis of various human diseases. Because biochemical analyses are often hampered by the amount of available diseased tissue, we report on the establishment and validation of a luminescence-based proteasomal activity assay applicable to 5-mg quantities of skeletal muscle. We demonstrate that the specific proteasomal activity differs in individual muscle groups and decreases with aging. These findings warrant the use of appropriate controls and a careful interpretation of results in mammalian skeletal muscle pathologies.
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