Investigators at Burnham Institute for Medical Research (Burnham) have identified novel cleavage sites for the enzyme caspase-3 (an enzyme that proteolytically cleaves target proteins).
Using an advanced proteomic technique called N-terminomics, Guy Salvesen, Ph.D., professor and director of the Apoptosis and Cell Death Research program of Burnham’s NCI-designated Cancer Center, and colleagues determined the cleavage sites on target proteins and found, contrary to previous understanding, that caspase-3 targets á-helices as well as unstructured loops. In addition, researchers found that caspase-3 and the substrates it binds to co-evolved. The paper was published on September 20 in the journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology.
Prior to this study, scientists believed that proteases primarily cleave in unstructured loops, unstable parts of proteins that are readily accessible. The discovery that caspase-3 also cleaves á-helices contradicts a current dogma and offers new insights into protein signaling pathways.
“This was a big surprise because there shouldn’t be anything for a protease to grab onto in a helix,” said Dr. Salvesen. “We found that the basic concept that they don’t cleave to helices is wrong. However, though we’ve found that proteases can cleave helices, we don’t believe that’s their biological function.”
In addition to determining cleavage sites, the team also determined which interactions were “biologically significant.” In other words which cleavages altered the function of the target protein and which ones had little impact.
The team tested the human caspase-3 and the Staphylococcal protease glutamyl endopeptidase (GluC) against the Escherichia coli (E. coli) proteosome. In a second set, the human caspase substrate was challenged with human caspase-3 . The researchers found cleavage sites using N-terminal proteomics (N-terminomics), in which cleaved substrates are tagged at an exposed edge (N-terminal) and analyzed though mass spectrometry. The data from these assays were then matched against lists of substrates in the Protein Data Bank. Notably, caspase-3 did not cleave E. coli proteins as effectively as it did human proteins. However, when hybrid human/E. coli proteins were constructed, cleavage was greatly improved, leading researchers to conclude that caspase-3 co-evolved with its human substrates.
Because they alter the functions of other proteins, proteases like caspase-3 are critical to cell signaling. Understanding how and where they interface with target proteins enhances our ability to understand the progress of diseases.About Burnham Institute for Medical Research
Burnham utilizes a unique, collaborative approach to medical research and has established major research programs in cancer, neurodegeneration, diabetes, and infectious, inflammatory, and childhood diseases. The Institute is especially known for its world-class capabilities in stem cell research and drug discovery technologies. Burnham is a nonprofit public benefit corporation.
Newly designed molecule binds nitrogen
23.02.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
Atomic Design by Water
23.02.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH
A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.
In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...
A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.
By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...
Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy