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J Biol Chem. 2004 Jan 23;279(4):2438-52. Epub 2003 Oct 28.

Mouse chromosome 17A3.3 contains 13 genes that encode functional tryptic-like serine proteases with distinct tissue and cell expression patterns.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Probing of the mouse EST data base at GenBank trade mark with known tryptase cDNAs resulted in the identification of undiscovered serine protease transcripts whose genes reside at a 1.5-Mb complex on mouse chromosome 17A3.3. Mouse tryptase-5 (mT5), tryptase-6 (mT6), and mast cell protease-11 (mMCP-11) are new members of this serine protease superfamily whose amino acid sequences are 36-54% identical to each other and to their other 10 family members. The 13 functional mouse proteases can be subdivided into two subgroups based on conserved features in their propeptides. Of the three new serine proteases, mT6 is most widely expressed in tissues. mT5 is preferentially expressed in smooth muscle, whereas mMCP-11 is preferentially expressed in the spleen and bone marrow. In contrast to mT5 and mT6, mMCP-11 is also expressed in mast cells. Although mT6 and mMCP-11 are constitutively secreted when expressed in mammalian and insect cells, mT5 remains membrane-associated. The fact that recombinant mT5, mT6, and mMCP-11 possess non-identical expression patterns and substrate specificities suggests that each protease has a unique function in vivo. Of the 13 functional mouse tryptase genes identified at the complex, 12 have orthologs that reside in the syntenic region of human chromosome 16p13.3. The establishment of these ortholog pairs helps clarify the evolutionary relationship of the serine protease locus in the two species. This information provides a useful framework for the functional analysis of each protease using gene targeting and other molecular approaches.

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