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Biochemistry. 1999 Aug 10;38(32):10388-97.

Modulation of juxtamembrane cleavage ("shedding") of angiotensin-converting enzyme by stalk glycosylation: evidence for an alternative shedding protease.

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Department of Medical Biochemistry and MRC Liver Research Centre, University of Cape Town Medical School, Observatory 7925, South Africa.


The role of juxtamembrane stalk glycosylation in modulating stalk cleavage and shedding of membrane proteins remains unresolved, despite reports that proteins expressed in glycosylation-deficient cells undergo accelerated proteolysis. We have constructed stalk glycosylation mutants of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), a type I ectoprotein that is vigorously shed when expressed in Chinese hamster ovary cells. Surprisingly, stalk glycosylation did not significantly inhibit release. Introduction of an N-linked glycan directly adjacent to the native stalk cleavage site resulted in a 13-residue, proximal displacement of the cleavage site, from the Arg-626/Ser-627 to the Phe-640/Leu-641 bond. Substitution of the wild-type stalk with a Ser-/Thr-rich sequence known to be heavily O-glycosylated produced a mutant (ACE-JGL) in which this chimeric stalk was partially O-glycosylated; incomplete glycosylation may have been due to membrane proximity. Relative to levels of cell-associated ACE-JGL, rates of basal, unstimulated release of ACE-JGL were enhanced compared with wild-type ACE. ACE-JGL was cleaved at an Ala/Thr bond, 14 residues from the membrane. Notably, phorbol ester stimulation and TAPI (a peptide hydroxamate) inhibition of release-universal characteristics of regulated ectodomain shedding-were significantly blunted for ACE-JGL, as was a formerly undescribed transient stimulation of ACE release by 3, 4-dichloroisocoumarin. These data indicate that (1) stalk glycosylation modulates but does not inhibit ectodomain shedding; and (2) a Ser-/Thr-rich, O-glycosylated stalk directs cleavage, at least in part, by an alternative shedding protease, which may resemble an activity recently described in TNF-alpha convertase null cells [Buxbaum, J. D., et al. (1998) J. Biol. Chem. 273, 27765-27767].

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