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Science 293 (5530): 705-708

Copyright © 2001 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Role of Inorganic Polyphosphate in Promoting Ribosomal Protein Degradation by the Lon Protease in E. coli

Akio Kuroda,1* Kazutaka Nomura,1 Ryo Ohtomo,2 Junichi Kato,1 Tsukasa Ikeda,1 Noboru Takiguchi,1 Hisao Ohtake,1 Arthur Kornberg2

Inorganic polyphosphate (polyP), a polymer of hundreds of phosphate (Pi) residues, accumulates in Escherichia coli in response to stresses, including amino acid starvation. Here we show that the adenosine 5'-triphosphate-dependent protease Lon formed a complex with polyP and degraded most of the ribosomal proteins, including S2, L9, and L13. Purified S2 also bound to polyP and formed a complex with Lon in the presence of polyP. Thus, polyP may promote ribosomal protein degradation by the Lon protease, thereby supplying the amino acids needed to respond to starvation.

1 Department of Molecular Biotechnology, Graduate School of Advanced Sciences of Matter, Hiroshima University, 1-4-1 Kagamiyama, Hiroshima 739-8527, Japan.
2 Department of Biochemistry, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-5307, USA.
*   To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: akuroda{at}hiroshima-u.ac.jp



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