Indexed on: 27 Mar '02Published on: 27 Mar '02Published in: Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics
Enteropeptidase (enterokinase) is a serine protease highly specific for recognition and cleavage of the target sequence of Asp-Asp-Asp-Asp-Lys (D4K). The three-dimensional structure of the enteropeptidase shows that the N-terminal amino acid is buried inside the protein providing molecular interactions necessary to maintain the conformation of the active site. To determine the influence of the N-terminal amino acid of enteropeptidase light chain (EK(L)) on the enzymatic activity, we constructed various mutants including 17 different single amino acid substitutions and three different extensions at the N-terminal end. The mutants of recombinant enteropeptidase (rEK(L)) were expressed in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and secreted into culture medium. Among 20 different mutants tested, the only mutant with the Ile --> Val substitution exhibited significant activity. The kinetic properties of the mutant protein were very similar to those of the wild-type rEK(L). Based on the three-dimensional structure where the N-terminal Ile is oriented into hydrophobic pocket, the results suggest that Val could substitute Ile without affecting the active conformation of the enzyme. The results also explain why all trypsin-like serine proteases carry either Ile or Val at the N-termini and none other amino acid residues are found. Moreover, this finding provides a mental framework for expressing the N-terminally engineered enteropeptidase in Escherichia coli, utilizing the known property of the methionine aminopeptidase that exhibits poor activity toward the N-terminal Met-Ile bond, but offers efficient cleavage of the Met-Val bond.