Mapping the pro-region of carboxypeptidase B by protein engineering: Cloning, overexpression, and mutagenesis of the porcine proenzyme

Salvador Ventura, Virtudes Villegas, Jane Sterner, Jeffrey Larson, Josep Vendrell, Charles L. Hershberger, Francesc X. Avilés

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51 Citations (Scopus)


The proteolytic processing of pancreatic procarboxypeptidase B to a mature and functional enzyme is much faster than that of procarboxypeptidase A1. This different behavior has been proposed to depend on specific conformational features at the region that connects the globular domain of the pro-segment to the enzyme and at the contacting surfaces on both moieties. A cDNA coding for porcine procarboxypeptidase B was cloned, sequenced, and expressed at high yield (250 mg/liter) in the methylotrophic yeast Pichia pastoris. To test the previous hypothesis, different mutants of the pro-segment at the putative tryptic targets in its connecting region and at some of the residues contacting the active enzyme were obtained. Moreover, the complete connecting region was replaced by the homologous sequence in procarboxypeptidase A1. The detailed study of the tryptic processing of the mutants shows that limited proteolysis of procarboxypeptidase B is a very specific process, as Arg-95 is the only residue accessible to tryptic attack in the proenzyme. A fast destabilization of the connecting region after the first tryptic cut allows subsequent proteolytic processing and the expression of carboxypeptidase B activity. Although all pancreatic procarboxypeptidases have a preformed active site, only the A forms show intrinsic activity. Mutational substitution of Asp-41 in the globular activation domain, located at the interface with the enzyme moiety, as well as removal of the adjacent 310 helix allow the appearance of residual activity in the mutated procarboxypeptidase B, indicating that the interaction of both structural elements with the enzyme moiety prevents the binding of substrates and promotes enzyme inhibition. In addition, the poor heterologous expression of such mutants indicates that the mutated region is important for the folding of the whole proenzyme.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19925-19933
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number28
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 1999


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