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J Biol Chem. 2000 Nov 24;275(47):36741-9.

Polyarginines are potent furin inhibitors.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, Louisiana 70112, USA.

Abstract

The ubiquitous serine endoprotease furin has been implicated in the activation of bacterial toxins and viral glycoproteins as well as in the metastatic progression of certain tumors. Although high molecular mass bioengineered serpin inhibitors have been well characterized, no small nontoxic nanomolar inhibitors have been reported to date. Here we describe the identification of such inhibitors using positional scanning amidated and acetylated synthetic l- and d-hexapeptide combinatorial libraries. The results indicated that l-Arg or l-Lys in all positions generated the most potent inhibitors. However, further investigation revealed that the peptide terminating groups hindered inhibition. Consequently, a series of non-amidated and acetylated polyarginines was synthesized. The most potent inhibitor identified, nona-l-arginine, had a K(i) for furin of 40 nm. The K(i) values for the related convertases PACE4 and prohormone convertase-1 (PC1) were 110 nm and 2.5 microm, respectively. Although nona-l-arginine was cleaved by furin, the major products after a 6-h incubation at 37 degrees C were hexa- and hepta-l-arginines, both of which retained the great majority of their potency and specificity against furin. Hexa-d-arginine was as potent and specific a furin inhibitor as hexa-l-arginine (K(i) values of hexa-d-arginine: 106 nm, 580 nm, and 13.2 microm for furin, PACE4, and PC1, respectively). PC2 was not inhibited by any polyarginine tested; indeed, PC2 showed an increase in activity of up to 140% of the control in the presence of l-polyarginines. Data are also presented that show extended subsite recognition by furin and PC2. Whereas N-terminal acetylation was found to reduce the inhibitory potency of the l-hexapeptide LLRVKR against furin 8-fold, C-terminal amidation reduced the potency < 2-fold. Conversely, N-terminal acetylation increased the potency against PC2 nearly 3-fold, whereas C-terminal amidation of the same peptide increased the potency by a factor of 1.6. Our data indicate that non-acetylated, poly-d-arginine-derived molecules may represent excellent lead compounds for the development of therapeutically useful furin inhibitors.

PMID:
10958789
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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