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FEBS J. 2006 Dec;273(23):5261-72. Epub 2006 Oct 25.

Bacterial beta-peptidyl aminopeptidases with unique substrate specificities for beta-oligopeptides and mixed beta,alpha-oligopeptides.

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  • 1Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, Eawag, Dübendorf, Switzerland.


We previously discovered that BapA, a bacterial beta-peptidyl aminopeptidase, is able to hydrolyze two otherwise metabolically inert beta-peptides [Geueke B, Namoto K, Seebach D and Kohler H-PE (2005) J Bacteriol 187, 5910-5917]. Here, we describe the purification and characterization of two distinct bacterial beta-peptidyl aminopeptidases that originated from different environmental isolates. Both bapA genes encode a preprotein with a signal sequence and were flanked by ORFs that code for enzymes with similar predicted functions. To form the active enzymes, which had an (alphabeta)(4) quaternary structure, the preproteins needed to be cleaved into two subunits. The two beta-peptidyl aminopeptidases had 86% amino acid sequence identity, hydrolyzed a variety of beta-peptides and mixed beta/alpha-peptides, and exhibited unique substrate specificities. The prerequisite for peptides being accepted as substrates was the presence of a beta-amino acid at the N-terminus; peptide substrates with an N-terminal alpha-amino acid were not hydrolyzed at all. Both enzymes cleaved the peptide bond between the N-terminal beta-amino acid and the amino acid at the second position of tripeptidic substrates of the general structure H-betahXaa-Ile-betahTyr-OH according to the following preferences with regard to the side chain of the N-terminal beta-amino acid: aliphatic and aromatic > OH-containing > hydrogen, basic and polar. Experiments with the tripeptides H-d-betahVal-Ile-betahTyr-OH and H-betahVal-Ile-betahTyr-OH demonstrated that the two BapA enzymes preferred the peptide with the l-configuration of the N-terminal beta-homovaline residue as a substrate.

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