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Biol Chem. 2005 Jun;386(6):561-8.

Kunitz-type Bauhinia bauhinioides inhibitors devoid of disulfide bridges: isolation of the cDNAs, heterologous expression and structural studies.

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Instituto de Física de São Carlos, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Avenida Trabalhador Sãocarlense 400, 13560-970 São Carlos, SP, Brazil.


Bauhinia bauhinoides cruzipain inhibitor (BbCI) and Bauhinia bauhinioides kallikrein inhibitor (BbKI) are cysteine and serine proteinase inhibitors structurally homologous to plant Kunitz-type inhibitors, but are devoid of disulfide bridges. Based on cDNA sequences, we found that BbKI and BbCI are initially synthesized as a prepropeptide comprising an N-terminal signal peptide (19 residues), the mature protein (164 residues) and a C-terminal targeting peptide (10 residues). Partial cDNAs encoding the mature enzymes plus N-terminal His-tags and thrombin cleavage sites were expressed in E. coli and the soluble proteins were purified by one-step nickel affinity chromatography. After thrombin cleavage, both proteins exhibited potent inhibitory activities toward their cognate proteinases like the wild-type proteins. BbCI inhibits human neutrophil elastase ( K i(app) 5.3 nM), porcine pancreatic elastase ( K i(app) 40 nM), cathepsin G ( K i(app) 160 nM) and the cysteine proteinases cruzipain ( K i(app) 1.2 nM), cruzain ( K i(app) 0.3 nM) and cathepsin L ( K i(app) 2.2 nM), while BbKI strongly inhibits plasma kallikrein ( K i(app) 2.4 nM) and plasmin ( K i(app) 33 nM). Circular dichroism spectra of BbCI and BbKI were in agreement with the beta-trefoil fold described for Kunitz inhibitors. The inhibitory potency of both BbCI- and BbKI-type inhibitors suggests that other, non-covalent interactions may compensate for the lack of disulfide bridges.

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