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Biochem J. 2008 Nov 15;416(1):109-16. doi: 10.1042/BJ20080965.

Glutamine-181 is crucial in the enzymatic activity and substrate specificity of human endoplasmic-reticulum aminopeptidase-1.

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Laboratory of Cellular Biochemistry, RIKEN, 2-1 Hirosawa, Wako, Saitama, 351-0198, Japan.


ERAP-1 (endoplasmic-reticulum aminopeptidase-1) is a multifunctional enzyme with roles in the regulation of blood pressure, angiogenesis and the presentation of antigens to MHC class I molecules. Whereas the enzyme shows restricted specificity toward synthetic substrates, its substrate specificity toward natural peptides is rather broad. Because of the pathophysiological significance of ERAP-1, it is important to elucidate the molecular basis of its enzymatic action. In the present study we used site-directed mutagenesis to identify residues affecting the substrate specificity of human ERAP-1 and identified Gln(181) as important for enzymatic activity and substrate specificity. Replacement of Gln(181) by aspartic acid resulted in a significant change in substrate specificity, with Q181D ERAP-1 showing a preference for basic amino acids. In addition, Q181D ERAP-1 cleaved natural peptides possessing a basic amino acid at the N-terminal end more efficiently than did the wild-type enzyme, whereas its cleavage of peptides with a non-basic amino acid was significantly reduced. Another mutant enzyme, Q181E, also revealed some preference for peptides with a basic N-terminal amino acid, although it had little hydrolytic activity toward the synthetic peptides tested. Other mutant enzymes, including Q181N and Q181A ERAP-1s, revealed little enzymatic activity toward synthetic or peptide substrates. These results indicate that Gln(181) is critical for the enzymatic activity and substrate specificity of ERAP-1.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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