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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1999 Jun 7;259(2):401-7.

Human cathepsins F and W: A new subgroup of cathepsins.

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  • 1Department of Human Genetics, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York 10029, USA.


Human cathepsin F is a recently described papain-like cysteine protease of unknown function. To investigate the evolutionary relatedness to other human cathepsins, we determined the genomic organization and the chromosomal localization of cathepsin F and isolated its putative promoter region. The gene of human cathepsin F (CTSF) is composed of twelve exons and eleven introns and was found to be similar to that of cathepsin W but different from the cathepsins K, S, L, O, B, and C. The splice sites of nine out of the eleven introns were identical to those determined in the cathepsin W gene (CTSW), whereas introns one and ten were unique for CTSF. The 4. 7 kb gene was mapped to the long arm of chromosome 11 at position q13.1-3, a locus shared with CTSW. Phylogenetic analysis of human cathepsin protein sequences demonstrated that (i) cathepsins F and W are evolutionarily separated from other human cathepsins, and (ii) cysteine proteases closely related to human cathepsin W and F are also expressed in parasites and mammals. Based on these phylogenetic findings, on the presence of a particular protein motif ("ERFNAQ") in the propeptides of cathepsins F and W as well as the genomic organization and chromosomal localization of their genes, we concluded that F and W form a novel subgroup of cathepsin proteases. We suggest the naming "cathepsin F-like" proteases distinct from the previously described cathepsins "L- and B-like" subgroups.

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