Biocurious is a weblog about biology, quantified.

Molecule of the Month: AAA+ Protease

by PhilipJ on 2 August 2006

David’s pick for August is the AAA+ protease:

How would you make a protein cutting machine that would be safe to use inside a cell? Digestive proteases like trypsin and pepsin are small and efficient—they diffuse up to proteins and start cutting. This would never work inside a cell. The cell needs to have more control, so that only obsolete or damaged proteins are destroyed. The AAA+ proteases are one solution to this problem. They use two tricks to ensure that only certain proteins are destroyed. First, they hide the protein destruction machinery inside a closed container, and second, they use a special protein pump to feed proteins into this destruction chamber.

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