Studies on a multicatalytic, protease complex from Trypanosoma brucei brucei.
Subcellular fractionation (together with immunocytochemical localisation studies) showed that the parasite Trypanosoma brucei brucei possesses a multicatalytic protease complex (MCPTb). This complex is predominantly cytosolic but some activity is also present in the nuclear fraction. MCP-Tb was isolated from T. b. brucei and compared to the properties of other proteasomes reported in the literature and to the 20S MCP isolated from bovine red blood cells (MCP-rbc). The isolation procedure employed four-steps: anion exchange chromatography on Q-Sepharose, adsorption chromatography on HA-Ultrogel, molecular exclusion chromatography on Sephacryl S-300 and glycerol density gradient sedimentation. The molecular mass of intact MCP-Tb was shown to be smaller than that of MCP-rbc. Separation of the different proteasome subunits by 2D-PAGE showed that MCP-Tb has 12 different polypeptide components compared to the 28 different polypeptide components of MCP-rbc. The N-terminal sequence of an MCP-Tb subunit showed that this subunit did not have any obvious sequence homology with the subunits of proteasomes from other cells. Furthermore, anti-MCP-Tb antibodies (which exhibited the in vitro inhibitory activity of MCP-Tb) did not cross-react with MCP-rbc showing that MCP-Tb and MCP-rbc are antigenically distinct. The basic enzymatic properties of MCP-Tb were fairly typical of other 20S proteasomes. MCP-Tb had multiple peptidase activities (identified as chymotrypsin-like, trypsin-like and peptidyl glutamylpeptide hydrolase activities) that are characteristic of proteasomes. Furthermore, the characteristics of inhibition by a variety of inhibitors were similar to those of other proteasomes, including MCP-rbc. The activities of 20S proteasomes from most cell types are activated by endogenous high molecular mass complexes such as the bovine 19S complex called PA700. These complexes form end-on associations with the 20S proteasome. However, no endogenous MCP-activator was found in T. b. brucei. Nevertheless, MCP-Tb was activated in an ATP-dependent manner by bovine PA700. Inhibition of the intrinsic phosphatase activity of PA700 inhibited the protease enhancing effect of PA700. Electron microscopic examination of negatively stained MCP-Tb and MCP-rbc showed particles that were morphologically indistinguishable. However, the MCP-Tb also exhibited unique end-on associations between individual units forming long (up to 200 nm) ribbon-like chains. Since access to the active sites of proteasomes occurs through the pores at the end of the complexes, this end-on association, when coupled to our observation of an apparent lack of an endogenous activator, suggests that T. b. brucei may have evolved an alternate mechanism for controlling their proteasome activity.