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J Biol Chem. 2000 Jan 7;275(1):351-8.

Formation of enzymatically active, homotypic, and heterotypic tetramers of mouse mast cell tryptases. Dependence on a conserved Trp-rich domain on the surface.

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Departments of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Mouse mast cell protease (mMCP) 6 and mMCP-7 are homologous tryptases stored in granules as macromolecular complexes with heparin and/or chondroitin sulfate E containing serglycin proteoglycans. When pro-mMCP-7 and pseudozymogen forms of this tryptase and mMCP-6 were separately expressed in insect cells, all three recombinant proteins were secreted into the conditioned medium as properly folded, enzymatically inactive 33-kDa monomers. However, when their propeptides were removed, mMCP-6 and mMCP-7 became enzymatically active and spontaneously assumed an approximately 150-kDa tetramer structure. Heparin was not required for this structural change. When incubated at 37 degrees C, recombinant mMCP-7 progressively lost its enzymatic activity in a time-dependent manner. Its N-linked glycans helped regulate the thermal stability of mMCP-7. However, the ability of this tryptase to form the enzymatically active tetramer was more dependent on a highly conserved Trp-rich domain on its surface. Although recombinant mMCP-6 and mMCP-7 preferred to form homotypic tetramers, these tryptases readily formed heterotypic tetramers in vitro. This latter finding indicates that the tetramer structural unit is a novel way the mast cell uses to assemble varied combinations of tryptases.

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