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Proteins. 1994 Jun;19(2):98-109.

1.56 A structure of mature truncated human fibroblast collagenase.

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  • 1Sterling Winthrop Pharmaceuticals Research Division, Collegeville, Pennsylvania 19426.


The X-ray crystal structure of a 19 kDa active fragment of human fibroblast collagenase has been determined by the multiple isomorphous replacement method and refined at 1.56 A resolution to an R-factor of 17.4%. The current structure includes a bound hydroxamate inhibitor, 88 waters and three metal atoms (two zincs and a calcium). The overall topology of the enzyme, comprised of a five stranded beta-sheet and three alpha-helices, is similar to the thermolysin-like metalloproteinases. There are some important differences between the collagenase and thermolysin families of enzymes. The active site zinc ligands are all histidines (His-218, His-222, and His-228). The presence of a second zinc ion in a structural role is a unique feature of the matrix metalloproteinases. The binding properties of the active site cleft are more dependent on the main chain conformation of the enzyme (and substrate) compared with thermolysin. A mechanism of action for peptide cleavage similar to that of thermolysin is proposed for fibroblast collagenase.

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