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PLoS One. 2012;7(11):e50639. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0050639. Epub 2012 Nov 30.

Functional characterization of two M42 aminopeptidases erroneously annotated as cellulases.

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  • 1Institut de Recherches Microbiologiques JM Wiame, Brussels, Belgium. rdutoit@ulb.ac.be

Abstract

Several aminopeptidases of the M42 family have been described as tetrahedral-shaped dodecameric (TET) aminopeptidases. A current hypothesis suggests that these enzymes are involved, along with the tricorn peptidase, in degrading peptides produced by the proteasome. Yet the M42 family remains ill defined, as some members have been annotated as cellulases because of their homology with CelM, formerly described as an endoglucanase of Clostridium thermocellum. Here we describe the catalytic functions and substrate profiles CelM and of TmPep1050, the latter having been annotated as an endoglucanase of Thermotoga maritima. Both enzymes were shown to catalyze hydrolysis of nonpolar aliphatic L-amino acid-pNA substrates, the L-leucine derivative appearing as the best substrate. No significant endoglucanase activity was measured, either for TmPep1050 or CelM. Addition of cobalt ions enhanced the activity of both enzymes significantly, while both the chelating agent EDTA and bestatin, a specific inhibitor of metalloaminopeptidases, proved inhibitory. Our results strongly suggest that one should avoid annotating members of the M42 aminopeptidase family as cellulases. In an updated assessment of the distribution of M42 aminopeptidases, we found TET aminopeptidases to be distributed widely amongst archaea and bacteria. We additionally observed that several phyla lack both TET and tricorn. This suggests that other complexes may act downstream from the proteasome.

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