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J Biol Chem. 1998 Feb 6;273(6):3535-41.

Overexpression of human procarboxypeptidase A2 in Pichia pastoris and detailed characterization of its activation pathway.

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  • 1Departament de Bioquímica i Biologia Molecular, Unitat de Ciències and the Institut de Biologia Fonamental, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Bellaterra, Spain.


The cDNA of human procarboxypeptidase A2 has been overexpressed in the methylotrophic yeast Pichia pastoris and secreted into the culture medium by means of the alpha-mating factor signal sequence, yielding a major protein of identical size and N-terminal sequence as the wild-type form. Two other forms containing the proenzyme have also been overexpressed: one of them resulted from an incomplete processing of the signal peptide, whereas the other was a glycosylated derivative. Recombinant procarboxypeptidase A2 was purified to homogeneity, and it was shown that its mature active form displays functional properties similar to those of the enzyme directly isolated from human pancreas. The overall yield was approximately 250 mg of proenzyme or 180 mg of mature enzyme/liter of cell culture. The proteolysis-promoted activation process of the recombinant proenzyme has been studied in detail. During maturation by trypsin, the increase in activity of the enzyme is a rapid and monotonic event, which reflects the rate of the proteolytic release of the inhibitory pro-segment and the weaker nature of its interactions with the enzyme moiety compared with procarboxypeptidases of the A1 type. Three main forms of the pro-segment (96, 94, and 92 amino acids), with no inhibitory capability in the severed state, and a single mature carboxypeptidase A2 are produced during this process. No further proteolysis of these pro-segments by the generated carboxypeptidase A2 occurs, in contrast with observations made in other procarboxypeptidases (A1 and B). This differential behavior is a result of the extreme specificity of carboxypeptidase A2.

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