Proteasome Structure and Assembly

J Mol Biol. 2017 Nov 10;429(22):3500-3524. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2017.05.027. Epub 2017 Jun 3.


The eukaryotic 26S proteasome is a large multisubunit complex that degrades the majority of proteins in the cell under normal conditions. The 26S proteasome can be divided into two subcomplexes: the 19S regulatory particle and the 20S core particle. Most substrates are first covalently modified by ubiquitin, which then directs them to the proteasome. The function of the regulatory particle is to recognize, unfold, deubiquitylate, and translocate substrates into the core particle, which contains the proteolytic sites of the proteasome. Given the abundance and subunit complexity of the proteasome, the assembly of this ~2.5MDa complex must be carefully orchestrated to ensure its correct formation. In recent years, significant progress has been made in the understanding of proteasome assembly, structure, and function. Technical advances in cryo-electron microscopy have resulted in a series of atomic cryo-electron microscopy structures of both human and yeast 26S proteasomes. These structures have illuminated new intricacies and dynamics of the proteasome. In this review, we focus on the mechanisms of proteasome assembly, particularly in light of recent structural information.

Keywords: proteasome; proteasome assembly; protein degradation; ubiquitin proteasome system.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Cryoelectron Microscopy
  • Eukaryotic Cells / enzymology*
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex / metabolism*
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex / ultrastructure*
  • Protein Multimerization*


  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex