Sequence analysis of the BamHI F fragment of the genome of Bombyx mori nuclear polyhedrosis virus (BmNPV) revealed an open reading frame whose deduced amino acid sequence had homology to those of cysteine proteases of the papain superfamily. The putative cysteine protease sequence (BmNPV-CP) was 323 amino acids long and showed 35% identity to a cysteine proteinase precursor from Trypanosoma brucei. Of 36 residues conserved among cathepsins B, H, L, and S and papain, 31 were identical in BmNPV-CP. In order to determine the activity and function of the putative cysteine protease, a BmNPV mutant (BmCysPD) was constructed by homologous recombination of the protease gene with a beta-galactosidase gene cassette. BmCysPD-infected BmN cell extracts were significantly reduced in acid protease activity compared with wild-type virus-infected cell extracts. The cysteine protease inhibitor E-64 [trans-epoxysuccinylleucylamido-(4-guanidino)butane] inhibited wild-type virus-expressed protease activity. Deletion of the cysteine protease gene had no significant effect on viral growth or polyhedron production in BmN cells, indicating that the cysteine protease was not essential for viral replication in vitro. However, B. mori larvae infected with BmCysPD showed symptoms different from those of wild-type BmNPV-infected larvae, e.g., less degradation of the body, including fat body cells, white body surface color due presumably to undegraded epidermal cells, and an increase in the number of polyhedra released into the hemolymph. This is the first report of (i) a virus-encoded protease with activity on general substrates and (ii) evidence that a virus-encoded protease may play a role in degradation of infected larvae to facilitate horizontal transmission of the virus.
Papaya meleira virus (PMeV) is so far the only described laticifer-infecting virus, the causal agent of papaya (Carica papaya L.) sticky disease. The effects of PMeV on the laticifers’ regulatory network were addressed here through the proteomic analysis of papaya latex. Using both 1-DE- and 1D-LC-ESI-MS/MS, 160 unique papaya latex proteins were identified, representing 122 new proteins in the latex of this plant. Quantitative analysis by normalized spectral counting revealed 10 down-regulated proteins in the latex of diseased plants, 9 cysteine proteases (chymopapain) and 1 latex serine proteinase inhibitor. A repression of papaya latex proteolytic activity during PMeV infection was hypothesized. This was further confirmed by enzymatic assays that showed a reduction of cysteine-protease-associated proteolytic activity in the diseased papaya latex. These findings are discussed in the context of plant responses against pathogens and may greatly contribute to understand the roles of laticifers in plant stress responses.
Carica papaya; Label-free quantitative proteomics; Latex; Mass spectrometry; Plant proteomics
The Kunitz-type trypsin/chymotrypsin inhibitor isolated from C. papaya latex has been crystallized using the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method. Two different crystal forms are observed, diffracting to 2.6 and 1.7 Å.
A Kunitz-type protease inhibitor purified from the latex of green papaya (Carica papaya) fruits was crystallized in the presence and absence of divalent metal ions. Crystal form I, which is devoid of divalent cations, diffracts to a resolution of 2.6 Å and belongs to space group P31 or P32. This crystal form is a merohedral twin with two molecules in the asymmetric unit and unit-cell parameters a = b = 74.70, c = 78.97 Å. Crystal form II, which was grown in the presence of Co2+, diffracts to a resolution of 1.7 Å and belongs to space group P212121, with unit-cell parameters a = 44.26, b = 81.99, c = 140.89 Å.
protease inhibitors; detwinning
Trypanosoma brucei is the etiological agent of Human African Trypanosomiasis, an endemic parasitic disease of sub-Saharan Africa. TbCatB and rhodesain are the sole Clan CA papain-like cysteine proteases produced by the parasite during infection of the mammalian host and are implicated in the progression of disease. Of considerable interest is the exploration of these two enzymes as targets for cysteine protease inhibitors that are effective against T. brucei.
Methods and Findings
We have determined, by X-ray crystallography, the first reported structure of TbCatB in complex with the cathepsin B selective inhibitor CA074. In addition we report the structure of rhodesain in complex with the vinyl-sulfone K11002.
The mature domain of our TbCat•CA074 structure contains unique features for a cathepsin B-like enzyme including an elongated N-terminus extending 16 residues past the predicted maturation cleavage site. N-terminal Edman sequencing reveals an even longer extension than is observed amongst the ordered portions of the crystal structure. The TbCat•CA074 structure confirms that the occluding loop, which is an essential part of the substrate-binding site, creates a larger prime side pocket in the active site cleft than is found in mammalian cathepsin B-small molecule structures. Our data further highlight enhanced flexibility in the occluding loop main chain and structural deviations from mammalian cathepsin B enzymes that may affect activity and inhibitor design. Comparisons with the rhodesain•K11002 structure highlight key differences that may impact the design of cysteine protease inhibitors as anti-trypanosomal drugs.
Proteases are ubiquitous in all forms of life and catalyze the enzymatic degradation of proteins. These enzymes regulate and coordinate a vast number of cellular processes and are therefore essential to many organisms. While serine proteases dominate in mammals, parasitic organisms commonly rely on cysteine proteases of the Clan CA family throughout their lifecycle. Clan CA cysteine proteases are therefore regarded as promising targets for the selective design of drugs to treat parasitic diseases, such as Human African Trypanosomiasis caused by Trypanosoma brucei. The genomes of kinetoplastids such as Trypanosoma spp. and Leishmania spp. encode two Clan CA C1 family cysteine proteases and in T. brucei these are represented by rhodesain and TbCatB. We have determined three-dimensional structures of these two enzymes as part of our ongoing efforts to synthesize more effective anti-trypanosomal drugs.
Cysteine proteases of the Clan CA (papain) family are the predominant
protease group in primitive invertebrates. Cysteine protease inhibitors arrest
infection by the protozoan parasite, Trypanosoma brucei. RNA
interference studies implicated a cathepsin B-like protease, tbcatB, as a key
inhibitor target. Utilizing parasites in which one of the two alleles of
tbcatb has been deleted, the key role of this protease in degradation
of endocytosed host proteins is delineated. TbcatB deficiency results in a
decreased growth rate and dysmorphism of the flagellar pocket and the
subjacent endocytic compartment. Western blot and microscopic analysis
indicate that deficiency in tbcatB results in accumulation of both host and
parasite proteins, including the lysosomal marker p67. A critical function for
parasitism is the degradation of host transferrin, which is necessary for iron
acquisition. Substrate specificity analysis of recombinant tbcatB revealed the
optimal peptide cleavage sequences for the enzyme and these were confirmed
experimentally using FRET-based substrates. Degradation of transferrin was
validated by SDS-PAGE and the specific cleavage sites identified by
N-terminal sequencing. Because even a modest deficiency in tbcatB is
lethal for the parasite, tbcatB is a logical target for the development of new
Ervatamin A is a papain-family cysteine protease with high activity and stability. It has been isolated and purified from the latex of the medicinal flowering plant E. coronaria and crystallized by the vapour-diffusion technique. Crystals diffracted to 2.1 Å and the structure was solved by molecular replacement.
The ervatamins are highly stable cysteine proteases that are present in the latex of the medicinal plant Ervatamia coronaria and belong to the papain family, members of which share similar amino-acid sequences and also a similar fold comprising two domains. Ervatamin A from this family, a highly active protease compared with others from the same source, has been purified to homogeneity by ion-exchange chromatography and crystallized by the vapour-diffusion method. Needle-shaped crystals of ervatamin A diffract to 2.1 Å resolution and belong to space group C2221, with unit-cell parameters a = 31.10, b = 144.17, c = 108.61 Å. The solvent content using an ervatamin A molecular weight of 27.6 kDa is 43.9%, with a V
M value of 2.19 Å3 Da−1 assuming one protein molecule in the asymmetric unit. A molecular-replacement solution has been found using the structure of ervatamin C as a search model.
ervatamins; cysteine proteases; papain family
We describe here the identification of non-peptidic vinylsulfones that inhibit parasite cysteine proteases in vitro and inhibit the growth of T. brucei brucei parasites in culture. A high resolution (1.75Å) co-crystal structure of 8a bound to cruzain reveals how the non-peptidic P2/P3 moiety in such analogs bind the S2 and S3 subsites of the protease, effectively recapitulating important binding interactions present in more traditional peptide-based protease inhibitors and natural substrates.
Cruzain is a member of the papain/cathepsin-L family of cysteine proteases, and the major cysteine protease of the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi, the causative agent of Chagas’ disease. We report an auto-induction methodology that provides soluble-cruzain at high yields (> 30 mg per liter in minimal media). These increased yields provide sufficient quantities of active enzyme for use in NMR-based ligand mapping. Using CD and NMR spectroscopy, we also examined the solution-state structural dynamics of the enzyme in complex with a covalently bound vinyl sulfone inhibitor (K777). We report the backbone amide and side chain carbon chemical shift assignments of cruzain in complex with K777. These resonance assignments were used to identify and map residues located in the substrate binding pocket, including the catalytic Cys25 and His162. Selective 15N-Cys, 15N-His, and 13C-Met labeling was performed to quickly assess cruzain-ligand interactions for a set of eight low molecular weight compounds exhibiting micromolar binding or inhibition. Chemical shift perturbation mapping verifies that six of the eight compounds bind to cruzain at the active site. Three different binding modes were delineated for the compounds, namely covalent, non-covalent, and non-interacting. These results provide examples of how NMR spectroscopy can be used to screen compounds for fast evaluation of enzyme-inhibitor interactions in order to facilitate lead compound identification and subsequent structural studies.
Targeting papain family cysteine proteases is one of the novel strategies in the development of chemotherapy for a number of diseases. Novel cysteine protease inhibitors derived from 1-pyridylimidazo[1,5-a]pyridine representing pharmacologically important class of compounds are being reported here for the first time. The derivatives were initially designed and screened in silico by molecular docking studies against papain to explore the possible mode of action. The molecular interaction between the compounds and cysteine protease (papain) was found to be very similar to the interactions observed with the respective epoxide inhibitor (E-64c) of papain. Subsequently, compounds were synthesized to validate their efficacy in wet lab experiments. When characterized kinetically, these compounds show their Ki and IC50 values in the range of 13.75 to 99.30 µM and 13.40 to 96.50 µM, respectively. The thermodynamics studies suggest their binding with papain hydrophobically and entropically driven. These inhibitors also inhibit the growth of clinically important different types of Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria having MIC50 values in the range of 0.6–1.4 µg/ml. Based on Lipinski’s rule of Five, we also propose these compounds as potent antibacterial prodrugs. The most active antibacterial compound was found to be 1-(2-pyridyl)-3-(2-hydroxyphenyl)imidazo[1,5-a]pyridine (3a).
Trypanosoma cruzi and Trypanosoma brucei are parasites that cause Chagas’ disease and African sleeping sickness, respectively. Both parasites rely on essential cysteine proteases for survival, cruzain for T. cruzi and TbCatB/rhodesain for T. brucei. A recent quantitative high-throughput screen of cruzain identified triazine nitriles, which are known inhibitors of other cysteine proteases, as reversible inhibitors of the enzyme. Structural modifications detailed herein, including core scaffold modification from triazine to purine, improved the in vitro potency against both cruzain and rhodesain by 350-fold, while also gaining activity against T. brucei parasites. Selected compounds were screened against a panel of human cysteine and serine proteases to determine selectivity, and a co-crystal was obtained of our most potent analog bound to Cruzain.
CMS1MS2, a cysteine proteinase from C. candamarcensis, displays high amidase activity against the substrate BAPNA. The enzyme was purified and crystallized by the hanging-drop method and preliminary diffraction data were collected to 1.8 Å resolution.
Cysteine proteinases from the latex of plants of the family Caricaceae are widely used industrially as well as in pharmaceutical preparations. In the present work, a 23 kDa cysteine proteinase from Carica candamarcensis latex (designated CMS1MS2) was purified for crystallization using three chromatography steps. The enzyme shows about fourfold higher activity than papain with BAPNA as substrate. Crystals suitable for X-ray diffraction experiments were obtained by the hanging-drop method in the presence of PEG and ammonium sulfate as precipitants. The crystals are monoclinic (space group P21), with unit-cell parameters a = 53.26, b = 75.71, c = 53.23 Å, β = 96.81°, and diffract X-rays to 1.8 Å resolution.
Carica candamarcensis; Caricaceae; cysteine proteinases
Evidence indicates that cysteine proteases play essential role in malaria parasites; therefore an obvious area of investigation is the inhibition of these enzymes to treat malaria. Studies with cysteine protease inhibitors and manipulating cysteine proteases genes have suggested a role for cysteine proteases in hemoglobin hydrolysis. The best characterized Plasmodium cysteine proteases are falcipains, which are papain family enzymes. Falcipain-2 and falcipain-3 are major hemoglobinases of P. falciparum. Structural and functional analysis of falcipains showed that they have unique domains including a refolding domain and a hemoglobin binding domain. Overall, the complexes of falcipain-2 and falcipain-3 with small and macromolecular inhibitors provide structural insight to facilitate the design or modification of effective drug treatment against malaria. Drug development targeting falcipains should be aided by a strong foundation of biochemical and structural studies.
The macromolecular complex of ICP (inhibitor of cysteine proteases) from P. berghei and falcipain-2 from P. falciparum has been prepared and crystallized, and a diffraction data set has been collected to a resolution of 2.6 Å.
The malaria parasite Plasmodium depends on the tight control of cysteine-protease activity throughout its life cycle. Recently, the characterization of a new class of potent inhibitors of cysteine proteases (ICPs) secreted by Plasmodium has been reported. Here, the recombinant production, purification and crystallization of the inhibitory C-terminal domain of ICP from P. berghei in complex with the P. falciparum haemoglobinase falcipain-2 is described. The 1:1 complex was crystallized in space group P43, with unit-cell parameters a = b = 71.15, c = 120.09 Å. A complete diffraction data set was collected to a resolution of 2.6 Å.
malaria; inhibitor of cysteine proteases; ICP; falcipain; chagasin
Four new tetromycin derivatives, tetromycins 1–4 and a previously known one, tetromycin B (5) were isolated from Streptomyces axinellae Pol001T cultivated from the Mediterranean sponge Axinella polypoides. Structures were assigned using extensive 1D and 2D NMR spectroscopy as well as HRESIMS analysis. The compounds were tested for antiparasitic activities against Leishmania major and Trypanosoma brucei, and for protease inhibition against several cysteine proteases such as falcipain, rhodesain, cathepsin L, cathepsin B, and viral proteases SARS-CoV Mpro, and PLpro. The compounds showed antiparasitic activities against T. brucei and time-dependent inhibition of cathepsin L-like proteases with Ki values in the low micromolar range.
tetromycin; anti-trypanosomal; protease inhibition; Streptomyces axinellae; marine sponge
BACKGROUND: Identification and validation of a drug discovery target is a prominent step in drug development. In the post-genomic era it is possible to reevaluate the association of a gene with a specific biological function to see if a homologous gene can subsume this role. This concept has special relevance to drug discovery in human infectious diseases, like malaria. A trophozoite cysteine protease (falcipain-1) from the papain family, thought to be responsible for the degradation of erythrocyte hemoglobin, has been considered a promising target for drug discovery efforts owing to the antimalarial activity of peptide based covalent cysteine protease inhibitors. This led to the development of non-peptidic non-covalent inhibitors of falcipain-1 and their characterization as antimalarials. It is now clear from sequencing efforts that the malaria genome contains more than one cysteine protease and that falcipain-1 is not the most important contributor to hemoglobin degradation. Rather, falcipain-2 and falcipain-3 appear to account for the majority of cysteine hemoglobinase activity in the plasmodium trophozoite. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We have modeled the falcipain-2 cysteine protease from one of the major human malaria species, Plasmodium falciparum and compared it to our original work on falcipain-1. As with falcipain-1, computa-tional screening of the falcipain-2 active site was conducted using DOCK. Using structural superpositions within the protease family and evolutionary analysis of substrate specificity sites, we focused on the commonalities and the protein specific features to direct our drug discovery effort. RESULTS: Since 1993, the size of the Available Chemicals Directory had increased from 55313 to 195419 unique chemical structures. For falcipain-2, eight inhibitors were identified with IC50's against the enzyme between 1 and 7 microM. Application of three of these inhibitors to infected erythrocytes cured malaria in culture, but parasite death did not correlate with food vacuole abnormalities associated with the activity of mechanistic inhibitors of cysteine proteases like the epoxide E64. CONCLUSIONS: Using plasmodial falcipain proteases, we show how a protein family perspective can influence target discovery and inhibitor design. We suspect that parallel drug discovery programs where a family of targets is considered, rather than serial programs built on a single therapeutic focus, will become the dominant industrial paradigm. Economies of scale in assay development and in compound synthesis are expected owing to the functional and structural features of individual family members. One of the remaining challenges in post-genomic drug discovery is that inhibitors of one target are likely to show some activity against other family members. This lack of specificity may lead to difficulties in functional assignments and target validation as well as a complex side effect profile.
The glutaminyl cyclase isolated from C. papaya latex has been crystallized using the hanging-drop method. Diffraction data have been collected at ESRF beamline BM14 and processed to 1.7 Å resolution.
In living systems, the intramolecular cyclization of N-terminal glutamine residues is accomplished by glutaminyl cyclase enzymes (EC 126.96.36.199). While in mammals these enzymes are involved in the synthesis of hormonal and neurotransmitter peptides, the physiological role played by the corresponding plant enzymes still remains to be unravelled. Papaya glutaminyl cyclase (PQC), a 33 kDa enzyme found in the latex of the tropical tree Carica papaya, displays an exceptional resistance to chemical and thermal denaturation as well as to proteolysis. In order to elucidate its enzymatic mechanism and to gain insights into the structural determinants underlying its remarkable stability, PQC was isolated from papaya latex, purified and crystallized by the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method. The crystals belong to the orthorhombic space group P212121, with unit-cell parameters a = 62.82, b = 81.23, c = 108.17 Å and two molecules per asymmetric unit. Diffraction data have been collected at ESRF beamline BM14 and processed to a resolution of 1.7 Å.
Helminthic cysteine proteases are well known to play critical roles in tissue invasion, nutrient uptake, and immune evasion of the parasites. In the same manner, the sparganum, the plerocercoid of Spirometra mansoni, is also known to secrete a large amount of cysteine proteases. However, cysteine protease inhibitors regulating the proteolytic activities of the cysteine protease are poorly illustrated. In this regard, we partially purified an endogenous cysteine protease inhibitor from spargana and characterized its biochemical properties. The cysteine protease inhibitor was purified by sequential chromatographies using Resource Q anion exchanger and Superdex 200 HR gel filtration from crude extracts of spargana. The molecular weight of the purified protein was estimated to be about 11 kD on SDS-PAGE. It was able to inhibit papain and 27 kDa cysteine protease of spargana with the ratio of 25.7% and 49.1%, respectively, while did not inhibit chymotrypsin. This finding suggests that the cysteine protease inhibitor of spargana may be involved in regulation of endogenous cysteine proteases of the parasite, rather than interact with cysteine proteases from their hosts.
Spirometra mansoni; plerocercoid; sparganum; cysteine protease; inhibitor
Erythrocytic malaria parasites utilize proteases for a number of cellular processes, including hydrolysis of hemoglobin, rupture of erythrocytes by mature schizonts, and subsequent invasion of erythrocytes by free merozoites. However, mechanisms used by malaria parasites to control protease activity have not been established. We report here the identification of an endogenous cysteine protease inhibitor of Plasmodium falciparum, falstatin, based on modest homology with the Trypanosoma cruzi cysteine protease inhibitor chagasin. Falstatin, expressed in Escherichia coli, was a potent reversible inhibitor of the P. falciparum cysteine proteases falcipain-2 and falcipain-3, as well as other parasite- and nonparasite-derived cysteine proteases, but it was a relatively weak inhibitor of the P. falciparum cysteine proteases falcipain-1 and dipeptidyl aminopeptidase 1. Falstatin is present in schizonts, merozoites, and rings, but not in trophozoites, the stage at which the cysteine protease activity of P. falciparum is maximal. Falstatin localizes to the periphery of rings and early schizonts, is diffusely expressed in late schizonts and merozoites, and is released upon the rupture of mature schizonts. Treatment of late schizionts with antibodies that blocked the inhibitory activity of falstatin against native and recombinant falcipain-2 and falcipain-3 dose-dependently decreased the subsequent invasion of erythrocytes by merozoites. These results suggest that P. falciparum requires expression of falstatin to limit proteolysis by certain host or parasite cysteine proteases during erythrocyte invasion. This mechanism of regulation of proteolysis suggests new strategies for the development of antimalarial agents that specifically disrupt erythrocyte invasion.
Malaria causes hundreds of millions of illnesses and more than a million deaths each year. Illness is caused by infection of red blood cells, with repeated rounds of red cell invasion, parasite development, and red cell rupture. Among enzymes with important roles in malaria parasites are proteases, which break down other proteins. Functions of proteases include the breakdown of red cell hemoglobin, the release of parasites from red cells, and the invasion of red cells by free parasites. This work concerns the identification and characterization of a protease inhibitor of malaria parasites termed falstatin. Falstatin inhibits one class of proteases, cysteine proteases, from both malaria parasites and humans. It is produced from soon before until soon after the processes of red cell rupture and invasion. Incubation of malaria parasites with an antibody that prevents the effects of falstatin markedly inhibited red cell invasion. Thus, falstatin appears to facilitate red cell invasion, presumably by preventing the action of proteases that hinder this process. Falstatin may therefore be a potential new target for vaccines or drugs to control malaria.
Recently, we identified a novel class of potent cathepsin L inhibitors, characterized by a thiocarbazate warhead. Given the potential of these compounds to inhibit other cysteine proteases, we designed and synthesized a library of thiocarbazates containing diversity elements at three positions. Biological characterization of this library for activity against a panel proteases indicated a significant preference for members of the papain family of cysteine proteases over serine, metallo-, and certain classes of cysteine proteases, such as caspases. Several very potent inhibitors of Cathepsin L and S were identified. The SAR data was employed in docking studies in an effort to understand the structural elements required for Cathepsin S inhibition. This study provides the basis for the design of highly potent and selective inhibitors of the papain family of cysteine proteases.
thiocarbazates; Cathepsin B; Cathepsin S; Cathepsin L; cysteine protease inhibitor; library
The targeting of parasite cysteine proteases with small molecules is emerging as a possible approach to treat tropical parasitic diseases such as sleeping sickness, Chagas' disease, and malaria. The homology of parasite cysteine proteases to the human cathepsins suggests that inhibitors originally developed for the latter may be a source of promising lead compounds for the former. We describe here the screening of a unique ∼2,100-member cathepsin inhibitor library against five parasite cysteine proteases thought to be relevant in tropical parasitic diseases. Compounds active against parasite enzymes were subsequently screened against cultured Plasmodium falciparum, Trypanosoma brucei brucei and/or Trypanosoma cruzi parasites and evaluated for cytotoxicity to mammalian cells. The end products of this effort include the identification of sub-micromolar cell-active leads as well as the elucidation of structure-activity trends that can guide further optimization efforts.
Diseases like malaria and sleeping sickness are caused by tropical parasites and represent a major cause of mortality and morbidity in the developing world. A pragmatic approach to discover new drugs for these diseases is to search for drug leads among existing small molecule collections generated in the for-profit pharmaceutical industry. In this study, we searched for new drug leads among a collection of small molecules donated by Celera Genomics. This collection of molecules was originally developed to inhibit a class of human enzymes (cathepsins) implicated in diseases like osteoporosis and psoriasis. Similar enzymes are also present in most tropical parasites, making this collection a logical place to search for new drug leads. The end result of this effort saw the identification of compounds that inhibit the growth of one or more tropical parasites and that will serve as good starting points for the development of new drugs for tropical parasitic diseases.
Procerain B, a novel cysteine protease (endopeptidase) isolated from Calotropis procera belongs to Asclepiadaceae family. Purification of the enzyme, biochemical characterization and potential applications are already published by our group. Here, we report cDNA cloning, complete amino acid sequencing and molecular modeling of procerain B. The derived amino acid sequence showed high sequence homology with other papain like plant cysteine proteases of peptidase C1A superfamily. The three dimensional structure of active procerain B was modeled by homology modeling using X-ray crystal structure of actinidin (PDB ID: 3P5U), a cysteine protease from the fruits of Actinidia arguta. The structural aspect of the enzyme is also discussed.
A central mechanistic paradigm of cysteine proteases is that the His – Cys catalytic diad forms an ion-pair NH(+)/S(−) already in the catalytically active free enzyme. Most molecular modeling studies of cysteine proteases refer to this paradigm as their starting point. Nevertheless, several recent kinetics and X-ray crystallography studies of viral and bacterial cysteine proteases depart from the ion-pair mechanism, suggesting general base catalysis. We challenge the postulate of the ion-pair formation in free papain. Applying our QM/SCRF(VS) molecular modeling approach, we analyzed all protonation states of the catalytic diad in free papain and its SMe derivative, comparing the predicted and experimental pKa data. We conclude that the His – Cys catalytic diad in free papain is fully protonated, NH(+)/SH. The experimental pKa=8.62 of His159 imidazole in free papain, obtained by NMR controlled titratin and originally interpreated as the NH(+)/S(−) ⇌ N/S(−) equilibrium, is now assigned to the NH(+)/SH ⇌ N/SH equilibrium.
cysteine proteases; enzyme mechanism; solvation; pKa in proteins; molecular modeling; quantum mechanics
A chitinase isolated from the latex of the tropical species Carica papaya has been crystallized. The addition of N-acetyl-d-glucosamine to the crystallization solution has improved the diffraction quality resolution of the crystal to 1.8 Å resolution.
A chitinase isolated from the latex of the tropical species Carica papaya has been purified to homogeneity and crystallized. This enzyme belongs to glycosyl hydrolase family 19 and exhibits exceptional resistance to proteolysis. The initially observed crystals, which diffracted to a resolution of 2.0 Å, were improved through modification of the crystallization protocol. Well ordered crystals were subsequently obtained using N-acetyl-d-glucosamine, the monomer resulting from the hydrolysis of chitin, as an additive to the crystallization solution. Here, the characterization of a chitinase crystal that belongs to the monoclinic space group P21, with unit-cell parameters a = 69.08, b = 44.79, c = 76.73 Å, β = 95.33° and two molecules per asymmetric unit, is reported. Diffraction data were collected to a resolution of 1.8 Å. Structure refinement is currently in progress.
Carica papaya; chitinases; family 19 glycosyl hydrolases
ICP is a chagasin-family natural tight binding inhibitor of Clan CA, family C1 cysteine peptidases (CPs). We investigated the role of ICP in Trypanosoma brucei by generating bloodstream form ICP-deficient mutants (Δicp). A threefold increase in CP activity was detected in lysates of Δicp, which was restored to the levels in wild type parasites by re-expression of the gene in the null mutant. Δicp displayed slower growth in culture and increased resistance to a trypanocidal synthetic CP inhibitor. More efficient exchange of the variant surface glycoprotein (VSG) to procyclin during differentiation from bloodstream to procyclic form was observed in Δicp, a phenotype that was reversed in the presence of synthetic CP inhibitors. Furthermore, we showed that degradation of anti-VSG IgG is abolished when parasites are pretreated with synthetic CP inhibitors, and that parasites lacking ICP degrade IgG more efficiently than wild type. In addition, Δicp reached higher parasitemia than wild type parasites in infected mice, suggesting that ICP modulates parasite infectivity. Taken together, these data suggest that CPs of T. brucei bloodstream form play a role in surface coat exchange during differentiation, in the degradation of internalized IgG and in parasite infectivity, and that their function is regulated by ICP.
In this study we investigated why bloodstream forms of Trypanosoma brucei gambiense cross human brain microvascular endothelial cells (BMECs), a human blood-brain barrier (BBB) model system, at much greater efficiency than do T. b. brucei. After noting that T. b. gambiense displayed higher levels of cathepsin L–like cysteine proteases, we investigated whether these enzymes contribute to parasite crossing. First, we found that T. b. gambiense crossing of human BMECs was abrogated by N-methylpiperazine-urea-Phe-homopheylalanine-vinylsulfone-benzene (K11777), an irreversible inhibitor of cathepsin L–like cysteine proteases. Affinity labeling and immunochemical studies characterized brucipain as the K11777-sensitive cysteine protease expressed at higher levels by T. b. gambiense. K11777-treated T. b. gambiense failed to elicit calcium fluxes in BMECs, suggesting that generation of activation signals for the BBB is critically dependant on brucipain activity. Strikingly, crossing of T. b. brucei across the BBB was enhanced upon incubation with brucipain-rich supernatants derived from T. b. gambiense. The effects of the conditioned medium, which correlated with ability to evoke calcium fluxes, were canceled by K11777, but not by the cathepsin B inhibitor CA074. Collectively, these in vitro studies implicate brucipain as a critical driver of T. b. gambiense transendothelial migration of the human BBB.