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J Biol Chem. 1998 Dec 25;273(52):35260-7.

Role of the COOH-terminal domains of meprin A in folding, secretion, and activity of the metalloendopeptidase.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey, Pennsylvania 17033-0850, USA.


Secreted forms of the alpha subunit of recombinant mouse meprin A include an NH2-terminal prosequence, a catalytic domain, and three COOH-terminal domains designated as MAM (meprin, A-5 protein, receptor protein-tyrosine phosphatase mu), MATH (meprin and TRAF homology), and AM (after MATH). In this study, the importance of these COOH-terminal domains for biosynthesis of secreted, activable forms of the protease was investigated. Transcripts of the meprin subunit truncated after the protease (alpha(1-275)), MAM (alpha(1-452)), and MATH (alpha(1-528)) domains or with individual domains deleted (DeltaMAM, DeltaMATH, and DeltaAM), were transfected into human embryonic kidney 293 cells. The wild-type subunit, DeltaMATH, DeltaAM, alpha(1-452), and alpha(1-528) were secreted into the media, although the DeltaAM mutant was secreted at very low levels. The DeltaMATH and alpha(1-452) mutants were not activable by limited proteolysis. The alpha(1-528) mutant was as active as wild-type meprin alpha against a bradykinin substrate, but had no activity against azocasein, and it, as all other mutants, was more vulnerable to extensive degradation by proteases than the wild-type protein. Pulse-chase experiments revealed that the DeltaMAM and alpha(1-275) mutants were rapidly degraded within cells. Treatment with lactacystin, a specific inhibitor of the proteasome, significantly decreased the degradation, indicating that the mutants lacking the MAM domain are degraded by the proteasome as misfolded proteins. These results indicate that the MAM domain is necessary for correct folding and transport through the secretory pathway, the MATH domain is required for folding of an activable zymogen, and the AM domain is important for activity against proteins and efficient secretion of the protein. The work demonstrates the interdependence of the domains for correct folding of an activable, stable, mature enzyme.

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