The fourth member of Ca2+-dependent mammalian secretory subtilase, PC4 (proprotein convertase 4), is primarily expressed in testicular germ cell and ovarian macrophage. Its role in sperm fertilization and in early embryonic development has been demonstrated earlier through several studies, including those with PC4 null mice. A number of physiological substrates found in reproductive tissues have been postulated or identified for PC4 by various biochemical studies. These include growth factors IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor-1) and IGF-2, hormonal polypeptide proPACAP (where PACAP stands for pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide) and a number of surface proteins of ADAM (ADisintegrin And Metalloproteinase-like) family such as ADAM-1 (fertilin α), ADAM-2 (fertilin β), ADAM-3 (procyritestin) and ADAM-5. To provide further evidence in support of this notion and also to study the substrate specificity and bioassay of PC4, a series of intramolecularly quenched fluorogenic peptides containing the cleavage sites and several mutants were prepared. A comparative kinetic analysis and measurement of Vmax (app)/Km (app) ratio of these fluorogenic substrates against PC4 and PC7 revealed that the mutant variants of h (human) proPACAP and m (mouse) ADAM-5 derived peptides Q-PACAP141–151-mutant [Abz-141RVKNKGRR↓I150P151SY(NO2)-A-CONH2] (150A151Y replaced by PS) and Q-ADAM-5380–388-mutant [Abz-380E381PKPAR↓RP388RY(NO2)A-CONH2] (381R replaced by P) are most efficiently and selectively cleaved by PC4. Using these two and Q-IGF-263–71 peptides, we showed that the sperm extract of normal adult mice is much higher when compared with that of PC4-null mice. This suggests that these fluorogenic peptides are useful for specific bioassay of PC4 activity. In addition, kinetic studies with various peptidyl-MCA indicate that the hexapeptide Ac-KTKQLR-MCA (where MCA stands for 4-methyl coumaryl-7-amide) is most efficiently and selectively cleaved by PC4 at R↓MCA, making it another effective agent for bioassay of PC4 activity. The study concludes that the most probable sequence motif for recognition by PC4 is KXKXXR or KXXR, where X is any amino acid other than cysteine and that it prefers proline at P3, P5 and/or P2´ positions. It was also revealed that PC4 is a good candidate processing enzyme for growth factors IGF-1 and -2, neuropeptide proPACAP and several ADAM proteins such as ADAM-1, -2, -3 and -5.
- ADAM proteins
- cleavage specificity
- enzyme bioassay
- intramolecularly quenched fluorogenic substrates
- kinetic parameters
- proprotein convertase 4
- substrate specificity
Abbreviations used: Abz, 2-amino benzoic acid; ADAM, ADisintegrin And Metalloproteinase-like; AMC, 7-amino 4-methyl coumarin; Boc, t-butyloxycarbonyl; But, t-butyl; Fmoc, fluoren-9yl-methoxycarbonyl; IGF, insulin-like growth factor; IQF, intramolecularly quenched fluorogenic; KO, knock-out; MALDI–TOF-MS, matrix-assisted laser-desorption ionization–time-of-flight mass spectrometry; MCA, 4-methyl coumaryl-7-amide; PACAP, pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide; PC, proprotein convertase; RP, reverse-phase; TFA, trifluoroacetic acid; Tyx, 3-nitro tyrosine [Tyr(3-NO2)]; WT, wild-type.
- The Biochemical Society, London ©2004