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Biochimie. 2011 Oct;93(10):1701-9. doi: 10.1016/j.biochi.2011.05.037. Epub 2011 Jun 12.

Substrate specificity of kallikrein-related peptidase 13 activated by salts or glycosaminoglycans and a search for natural substrate candidates.

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Department of Biophysics, Escola Paulista de Medicina, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Rua Três de Maio 100, 04044-020 São Paulo, Brazil.


KLK13 is a kallikrein-related peptidase preferentially expressed in tonsils, esophagus, testis, salivary glands and cervix. We report the activation of KLK13 by kosmotropic salts and glycosaminoglycans and its substrate specificity by employing a series of five substrates derived from the fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) peptide Abz-KLRSSKQ-EDDnp. KLK13 hydrolyzed all these peptides only at basic residues with highest efficiency for R; furthermore, the S(3) to S(2)' subsites accepted most of the natural amino acids with preference also for basic residues. Using a support-bound FRET peptide library eight peptide substrates were identified containing sequences of proteins found in testis and one with myelin basic protein sequence, each of which was well hydrolyzed by KLK13. Histatins are salivary peptides present in higher primates with broad antifungal and mucosal healing activities that are generated from the hydrolysis from large precursor peptides. KLK13 efficiently hydrolyzed synthetic histatin 3 exclusively at R(25) (DSHAKRHHGYKRKFHEKHHSHRGYR(25)↓SNYLYDN) that is the first cleavage observed inside the salivary gland. In conclusion, the observed hydrolytic activities of KLK13 and its co-localization with its activators, glycosaminoglycans in the salivary gland and high concentration of sodium citrate in male reproductive tissues, indicates that KLK13 may play a role in the defense of the upper digestive apparatus and in male reproductive organs.

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