Cellular and retroviral pepsin-like aspartate proteases.
This family includes both cellular and retroviral pepsin-like aspartate proteases. The cellular pepsin and pepsin-like enzymes are twice as long as their retroviral counterparts. The cellular pepsin-like aspartic proteases are found in mammals, plants, fungi and bacteria. These well known and extensively characterized enzymes include pepsins, chymosin, rennin, cathepsins, and fungal aspartic proteases. Several have long been known to be medically (rennin, cathepsin D and E, pepsin) or commercially (chymosin) important. The eukaryotic pepsin-like proteases contain two domains possessing similar topological features. The N- and C-terminal domains, although structurally related by a 2-fold axis, have only limited sequence homology except in the vicinity of the active site. This suggests that the enzymes evolved by an ancient duplication event. The eukaryotic pepsin-like proteases have two active site ASP residues with each N- and C-terminal lobe contributing one residue. While the fungal and mammalian pepsins are bilobal proteins, retropepsins function as dimers and the monomer resembles structure of the N- or C-terminal domains of eukaryotic enzyme. The active site motif (Asp-Thr/Ser-Gly-Ser) is conserved between the retroviral and eukaryotic proteases and between the N-and C-terminal of eukaryotic pepsin-like proteases. The retropepsin-like family includes pepsin-like aspartate proteases from retroviruses, retrotransposons and retroelements; as well as eukaryotic DNA-damage-inducible proteins (DDIs), and bacterial aspartate peptidases. Retropepsin is synthesized as part of the POL polyprotein that contains an aspartyl-protease, a reverse transcriptase, RNase H, and an integrase. The POL polyprotein undergoes specific enzymatic cleavage to yield the mature proteins. This family of aspartate proteases is classified by MEROPS as the peptidase family A1 (pepsin A) and A2 (retropepsin family).