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J Biol Chem. 1997 Jan 17;272(3):1849-55.

Squamous cell carcinoma antigen 2 is a novel serpin that inhibits the chymotrypsin-like proteinases cathepsin G and mast cell chymase.

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Joint Program in Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02115-5737, USA.


The squamous cell carcinoma antigen (SCCA) serves as a serological marker for more advanced squamous cell tumors. Molecular cloning of the SCCA genomic region revealed the presence of two tandemly arrayed genes, SCCA1 and SCCA2. Analysis of the primary amino acid sequences shows that both genes are members of the high molecular weight serpin superfamily of serine proteinase inhibitors. Although SCCA1 and SCCA2 are nearly identical in primary structure, the reactive site loop of each inhibitor suggests that they may differ in their specificity for target proteinases. SCCA1 has been shown to be effective against papain-like cysteine proteinases. The purpose of this study was to determine whether SCCA2 inhibited a different family of proteolytic enzymes. Using recombinant DNA techniques, we prepared a fusion protein of glutathione S-transferase and full-length SCCA2 . The recombinant SCCA2 was most effective against two chymotrypsin-like proteinases from inflammatory cells, but was ineffective against papain-like cysteine proteinases. Serpin-like inhibition was observed for both human neutrophil cathepsin G and human mast cell chymase. The second order rate constants for these associations were on the order of approximately 1 x 10(5) M-1 s-1 and approximately 3 x 10(4) M-1 s-1 for cathepsin G and mast cell chymase, respectively. Moreover, SCCA2 formed SDS-stable complexes with these proteinases at a stoichiometry of near 1:1. These data showed that SCCA2 is a novel inhibitor of two physiologically important chymotrypsin-like serine proteinases.

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