Indexed on: 29 Jun '07Published on: 29 Jun '07Published in: Gene
Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) is a metallopeptidase that converts angiotensin I into angiotensin II. ACE is crucial in the control of cardiovascular and renal homeostasis and fertility in mammals. In vertebrates, both transmembrane and soluble ACE, containing one or two active sites, have been characterized. So far, only soluble, single domain ACEs from invertebrates have been cloned, and these have been implicated in reproduction in insects. Furthermore, an ACE-related carboxypeptidase was recently characterized in Leishmania, a unicellular eukaryote, suggesting the existence of ACE in more distant organisms. Interestingly, in silico databank analysis revealed that bacterial DNA sequences could encode putative ACE-like proteins, strikingly similar to vertebrates' enzymes. To gain more insight into the bacterial enzymes, we cloned the putative ACE from the phytopathogenic bacterium, Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. citri, named XcACE. The 2 kb open reading frame encodes a 672-amino-acid soluble protein containing a single active site. In vitro expression and biochemical characterization revealed that XcACE is a functional 72 kDa dipeptidyl-carboxypeptidase. As in mammals, this metalloprotease hydrolyses angiotensin I into angiotensin II. XcACE is sensitive to ACE inhibitors and chloride ions concentration. Variations in the active site residues, highlighted by structural modelling, can account for the different substrate selectivity and inhibition profile compared to human ACE. XcACE characterization demonstrates that ACE is an ancestral enzyme, provoking questions about its appearance and structure/activity specialisation during the course of evolution.