Glutamine starvation of monocytes inhibits the ubiquitin-proteasome proteolytic pathway

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Peripheral blood monocytes utilize free glutamine (Gln) in addition to glucose as an important energy substrate. Although this demand increases upon activation, monocytes are commonly confronted with decreased plasma Gln during critical illness and thus suffer from Gln-starvation. Here we investigate the influence of Gln-starvation on protein stability and its effects on the monocyte proteome. Gln-starvation caused a reduction of protein degradation which was accompanied by an accumulation of ubiquitin-protein conjugates and a reduction of intracellular ATP. Similar effects were observed under ATP-reducing conditions and in the presence of a proteasome inhibitor. Using two-dimensional gel electrophoresis we identified the IL-1β precursor protein (pIL-1β) as the, by far, most induced protein in endotoxin-treated monocytes. The degradation of the short-lived pIL-1β was strongly reduced during Gln-starvation, while the degradation of the long-lived, constitutively expressed β-actin was less affected. This indicates that although Gln-starvation reduces protein breakdown on the overall proteasome level, it leads to differential changes in the stability of specific proteins. This selective effect is likely to contribute to the immunocompromised state of monocytes commonly observed during critical illness. © 2003 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.




Zellner, M., Gerner, C., Eliasen, M. M., Wurm, S., Pollheimer, J., Spittler, A., … Oehler, R. (2003). Glutamine starvation of monocytes inhibits the ubiquitin-proteasome proteolytic pathway. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Basis of Disease, 1638(2), 138–148.

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