Our quest to understand the complex inner workings of the cell depends on the development of new technologies that allow the study of global regulatory events as they happen within their native cellular environment. Post-translational processing of proteins by proteases is one such regulatory process that can control many aspects of basic cell biology. In this issue of the Biochemical Journal, Timmer et al. describe a new proteomic approach that can be used to globally monitor constitutive proteolytic events in vivo. Using bacterial, human, yeast and mouse cells, the authors show that this methodology provides a comprehensive map of constitutive trimming events mediated by regulatory proteases such as methionine aminopeptidase. This study also identifies previously uncharacterized processing events that highlight potential novel regulatory mechanisms mediated by proteolysis.

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