Biochemical Journal

Research article

A glutamate residue contributes to the exopeptidase specificity in aminopeptidase A

Gilles VAZEUX, Xavier ITURRIOZ, Pierre CORVOL, Catherine LLORENS-CORTES

Abstract

Aminopeptidase A (EC 3.4.11.7, APA) is a 130 kDa membrane-bound aminopeptidase that contains the consensus sequence HEXXH (385–389) found in the zinc metalloprotease family, the zincins. Sequence alignment of the mouse APA with other monozinc-aminopeptidases indicates the presence of a highly conserved glutamate residue (Glu352 in APA) found in the conserved motif GAMEN (349–353). In monozinc-aminopeptidases, the negative charge of the glutamate side-chain carboxylate may constitute the anionic binding site involved in the recognition of the free amino group of substrates or inhibitors. The functional role of Glu352 in APA was investigated by substituting this residue with an aspartate (Asp352), a glycine (Gly352), a glutamine (Gln352) or an arginine (Arg352) residue by site-directed mutagenesis. Kinetic studies showed that the Km values of the mutant enzymes were unaffected, whereas kcat values were decreased 10–250-fold, resulting in a 10-, 30- 260- and 400-fold reduction in cleavage efficiencies for the mutants Asp352, Gly352, Gln352 and Arg352 respectively. The inhibitory potency of two different classes of inhibitors, a thiol and a phosphonate compound, was significantly (P< 0.05) decreased by 10- and 4-fold respectively in the mutated enzymes. Moreover, the inhibitory potency of angiotensin I, used as a competitor of the synthetic substrate α-l-glutamyl β-naphthylamide, displayed a 4-fold reduction (P< 0.01) in the mutated enzymes, whereas the Ki values of its N-acetyl derivative were unchanged. These data strongly suggest that Glu352 is involved in the catalytic process of APA and contributes to the exopeptidase activity of this enzyme through interaction with the N-terminal part of substrates or inhibitors.