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J Biol Chem. 2004 Aug 20;279(34):35656-63. Epub 2004 May 24.

Plasticity of extended subsites facilitates divergent substrate recognition by Kex2 and furin.

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Department of Chemistry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, USA.


Yeast Kex2 and human furin are subtilisin-related proprotein convertases that function in the late secretory pathway and exhibit similar though distinguishable patterns of substrate recognition. Although both enzymes prefer Arg at P(1) and basic residues at P(2), the two differ in recognition of P(4) and P(6) residues. To probe P(4) and P(6) recognition by Kex2p, furin-like substitutions were made in the putative S(4) and S(6) subsites of Kex2. T252D and Q283E mutations were introduced to increase the preference for Arg at P(4) and P(6), respectively. Glu(255) was replaced with Ile to limit recognition of P(4) Arg. The effects of putative S(4) and S(6) mutations were determined by examining the cleavage by purified mutant enzymes of a series of fluorogenic substrates with systematic changes in P(4) and/or P(6). Whereas wild Kex2 exhibited little preference type for Arg at P(6), the T252D mutant and T252D/Q283E double mutant exhibited clear interactions with P(6) Arg. Moreover, the T252D and T252D/Q283E substitutions altered the influence of the P(6) residue on P(4) recognition. We infer that cross-talk between S(4) and S(6), not seen in furin, allows wild type and mutant forms of Kex2 to adapt their subsites for altered modes of recognition. This apparent plasticity may allow the subsites to rearrange their local environment to interact with different substrates in a productive manner. E255I-Kex2 exhibited significantly decreased recognition of P(4) Arg in a tetrapeptide substrate with Lys at P(1), although the general pattern of selectivity for aliphatic residues at P(4) remained unchanged.

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