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Biochimie. 2008 Feb;90(2):336-44. Epub 2007 Nov 1.

Oligopeptidase B: a processing peptidase involved in pathogenesis.

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  • 1Biochemistry, School of Biochemistry, Genetics, Microbiology and Plant Pathology, University of KwaZulu-Natal (Pietermaritzburg campus), Private bag X01, Scottsville 3201, South Africa. coetzer@ukzn.ac.za


Oligopeptidase B is a "processing peptidase" from the prolyl oligopeptidase family of serine peptidases present in Gram negative bacteria, protozoa and plants. Unlike the prototype prolyl oligopeptidase, oligopeptidase B hydrolyses peptides on the carboxyl side of pairs of basic amino acid residues. Molecular modelling and mutation studies have identified carboxyl dyads in the C-terminal catalytic domain that mediate substrate and inhibitor binding. The peptidase is efficiently inhibited by non-peptide irreversible serine peptidase inhibitors, peptidyl-chloromethylketones, -phosphonate alpha-aminoalkyl diphenyl esters with basic residues at P1, and tripeptide aldehydes, but not by proteinaceous host plasma inhibitors such as alpha2-macroglobulin and serpins. Access of these large molecular mass inhibitors and substrates larger than approximately 30 amino acid residues to the catalytic cleft is restricted by the N-terminal beta-propeller domain. The physiological role of oligopeptidase B from various sources has not yet been elucidated. However, the peptidase has been identified as an important virulence factor and therapeutic agent in animal trypanosomosis. This review highlights the structure-function properties of oligopeptidase B in context with its physiological and/or pathological roles which make the enzyme a promising drug target.

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