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J Biol Chem. 2000 Aug 4;275(31):23596-601.

The C-terminal region of proSAAS is a potent inhibitor of prohormone convertase 1.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York 10461, USA.


ProSAAS is a recently discovered 26-kDa neuroendocrine protein that was previously found to inhibit prohormone convertase (PC) 1 and not PC2. In the present study, the specificity of proSAAS toward other members of the prohormone convertase family was determined. Two microm proSAAS selectively inhibits PC1 but not furin, PACE4, PC5A, or PC7. The PC1 inhibitory region of proSAAS was mapped to an 8-12-residue region near the C terminus that includes a critical Lys-Arg sequence. Synthetic peptides corresponding to this region are competitive inhibitors of PC1 with apparent K(i) values of 14-40 nm. The inhibition becomes more effective with incubation time, indicating that the inhibitor is slow binding. A fusion protein containing the inhibitory region of proSAAS linked to the C terminus of glutathione S-transferase binds the 71-kDa form but not the 85-kDa form of PC1. This binding, which occurs at pH 5.5 and not at pH 7.4, is stable to incubation at room temperature for 1 h in the presence or absence of 0.5% Triton X-100 and/or 0.5 m NaCl. The removal of Ca(2+) with chelating agents partially releases the bound PC1. High concentrations of the inhibitory peptide quantitatively release the bound PC1. Taken together, these data support the proposal that proSAAS functions as an endogenous inhibitor of PC1.

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