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Eur J Biochem. 1995 Oct 15;233(2):432-41.

The purification, characterization and analysis of primary and secondary-structure of prolyl oligopeptidase from human lymphocytes. Evidence that the enzyme belongs to the alpha/beta hydrolase fold family.

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Laboratory for Medical Biochemistry, University of Antwerp, Antwerpen, Belgium.


Prolyl oligopeptidase was isolated and purified to homogeneity from human lymphocytes, yielding a specific activity of 7780 mU/mg. The molecular mass using size-exclusion chromatography matches the 76 kDa obtained by SDS/PAGE. This provides evidence that prolyl oligopeptidase is a monomer. The isoelectric point is 4.8 as judged by isoelectric focusing in free solution. Di-isopropyl fluorophosphate and phenylmethylsulphonyl fluoride completely abolish the activity, classifying the enzyme as a serine proteinase. The inhibition by p-chloromercuribenzoic acid indicates the importance of a free sulfhydryl group near the active-site. alpha 1-Casein and ornithine decarboxylase, two proteins containing a PEST sequence, inhibit prolyl oligopeptidase, but were not hydrolyzed. This demonstrates that prolyl oligopeptidase is not participating in the metabolism of proteins according to a PEST-dependent pathway. alpha 1-Antitrypsin partially inhibits the enzyme but in contrast, aprotinin does not. Its inability to cleave corticotropin-releasing factor, ubiquitin, albumin and aprotinin, together with the hydrolysis of bradykinin between Pro7-Arg8 confirms the affinity of prolyl oligopeptidase for small peptides. Multiple sequence alignment does not reveal any similarity with proteases of known tertiary structure. Secondary-structure prediction displays striking similarity with dipeptidyl peptidase IV and acylaminoacyl peptidase. Two characteristic features of the members of the prolyl oligopeptidase family of serine proteases are high-lighted: the linear arrangement of the catalytic triad is nucleophile-acid-base and the proteolytic cleavage releasing the catalytically active C-terminal region of around 500 amino acids from the N-terminal sequence. Secondary structure prediction and comparison of the active-site of serine proteinases with known three-dimensional coordinates prove that Asp641 is the third member of the catalytic triad. The secondary structural organization of the protease domain of prolyl oligopeptidase is in accordance with the alpha/beta hydrolase fold.

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