Keeping the proportions of protein complex components in check


  • J.C. Taggart
  • H. Zauber
  • M. Selbach
  • G.W. Li
  • E. McShane


  • Cell Systems


  • Cell Syst 10 (2): 125-132


  • How do cells maintain relative proportions of protein complex components? Advances in quantitative, genome-wide measurements have begun to shed light onto the roles of protein synthesis and degradation in establishing the precise proportions in living cells: on the one hand, ribosome profiling studies indicate that proteins are already produced in the correct relative proportions. On the other hand, proteomic studies found that many complexes contain subunits that are made in excess and subsequently degraded. Here, we discuss these seemingly contradictory findings, emerging principles, and remaining open questions. We conclude that establishing precise protein levels involves both coordinated synthesis and post-translational fine-tuning via protein degradation.