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The Clp protease is conserved among eubacteria and most eukaryotes, and uses ATP to drive protein substrate unfolding and translocation into a chamber of sequestered proteolytic active sites. To investigate the proteolytic core of the ClpXP1/P2 protease from the cyanobacterium Synechococcus elongatus we have used a non-denaturing mass spectrometry approach. We show that the proteolytic core is a double ring tetradecamer consisting of an equal number of ClpP1 and ClpP2 subunits with masses of 21.70 and 23.44 kDa, respectively. Two stoichiometries are revealed for the heptameric rings: 4ClpP1+3ClpP2 and 3ClpP1+4ClpP2. When combined in the double ring the stoichiometries are (4ClpP1+3ClpP2)+(3ClpP1+4ClpP2) and 2×(3ClpP1+4ClpP2) with a low population of a 2×(4ClpP1+3ClpP2) tetradecamer. The assignment of the stoichiometries is confirmed by collision-induced dissociation of selected charge states of the intact heptamer and tetradecamer. Presence of the heterodimers, heterotetramers and heterohexamers, and absence of the mono-oligomers, in the mass spectra of the partially denatured protease indicates that the ring complex consists of a chain of ClpP1/ClpP2 heterodimers with the ring completed by an additional ClpP1 or ClpP2 subunit.

Original publication




Journal article


J Struct Biol

Publication Date





519 - 527


Clp protease, Enzyme structure, Macromolecular protein complexes, Mass spectrometry (MS), Stoichiometry, Structural biology, Amino Acid Sequence, Bacterial Proteins, Endopeptidase Clp, Mass Spectrometry, Protein Multimerization, Protein Subunits, Synechococcus