Proteasomes: protein degradation machines of the cell

Trends Biochem Sci. 1994 Sep;19(9):377-82. doi: 10.1016/0968-0004(94)90115-5.


20 S proteasomes are cylinder-shaped protein complexes that play an important role in intracellular protein degradation in eukaryotes and certain archaebacteria. Although 20 S proteasomes were first described many years ago, it has been discovered only recently that these particles can assemble with other protein complexes, presumably of regulatory function. One of the macromolecular assemblies formed, the 26 S proteasome complex, functions as an ATP-dependent protease in the ubiquitin pathway, which has been implicated in the degradation of abnormal proteins, degradation of short-lived regulatory proteins and antigen presentation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Antigen Presentation
  • Cysteine Endopeptidases / chemistry*
  • Cysteine Endopeptidases / physiology*
  • Cysteine Endopeptidases / ultrastructure
  • Humans
  • Multienzyme Complexes / chemistry*
  • Multienzyme Complexes / physiology*
  • Multienzyme Complexes / ultrastructure
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Ubiquitins / metabolism


  • Multienzyme Complexes
  • Proteins
  • Ubiquitins
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Cysteine Endopeptidases
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex