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Biochemistry. 1998 Sep 22;37(38):13174-83.

Spontaneous inactivation of human tryptase involves conformational changes consistent with conversion of the active site to a zymogen-like structure.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 19104, USA.


The conformational changes accompanying spontaneous inactivation and dextran sulfate (DS) mediated reactivation of the serine protease human tryptase were investigated by analysis of (i) intrinsic fluorescence, (ii) inhibitor binding, and (iii) catalytic efficiency. Spontaneous inactivation produced a marked decrease in fluorescence emission intensity that was reversed by the addition of DS. Fluorescence decreases at high (4.0 microM) and low (0.1 microM) tryptase concentrations were similar at early times and coincided with loss of enzymatic activity but deviated significantly from activity loss at later times by showing a difference in the extent of change. The fluorescence losses were best described by a two-step kinetic model in which the major decrease correlated to activity loss (t1/2 of 4.3 min in 0.2 M NaCl, pH 6.8, 30 degrees C) and was followed by a further decrease (t1/2 approximately 60 min) whose extent differed with tryptase concentration. The ability to bind the competitive inhibitor p-aminobenzamidine was reversibly lost upon spontaneous inactivation, providing evidence for conformational changes affecting the major substrate binding site (S1-pocket). Estimation of catalytic efficiency using an active site titrant showed that the specific activity of tryptase remained unchanged upon inactivation and reactivation. Return of enzymatic activity, intrinsic fluorescence, and the S1 pocket appeared to occur in the same time frame (t1/2 approximately 3 min). These studies indicate that spontaneous inactivation involves reversible changes which convert the active site to a nonfunctional state. The association of activity loss with an intrinsic fluorescence decrease and loss of the S1-pocket is consistent with the disruption of a critical ionic bond at the active site. Formation of this ionic bond is the basis of zymogen activation for the chymotrypsin family of serine proteases.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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