Human mesotrypsin is a unique digestive protease specialized for the degradation of trypsin inhibitors.
ABSTRACT: Mesotrypsin is an enigmatic minor human trypsin isoform, which has been recognized for its peculiar resistance to natural trypsin inhibitors such as soybean trypsin inhibitor (SBTI) or human pancreatic secretory trypsin inhibitor (SPINK1). In search of a biological function, two conflicting theories proposed that due to its inhibitor-resistant activity mesotrypsin could prematurely activate or degrade pancreatic zymogens and thus play a pathogenic or protective role in human pancreatitis. In the present study we ruled out both theories by demonstrating that mesotrypsin was grossly defective not only in inhibitor binding, but also in the activation or degradation of pancreatic zymogens. We found that the restricted ability of mesotrypsin to bind inhibitors or to hydrolyze protein substrates was solely due to a single evolutionary mutation, which changed the serine-protease signature glycine 198 residue to arginine. Remarkably, the same mutation endowed mesotrypsin with a novel and unique function: mesotrypsin rapidly hydrolyzed the reactive-site peptide bond of the Kunitz-type trypsin inhibitor SBTI, and irreversibly degraded the Kazal-type temporary inhibitor SPINK1. The observations suggest that the biological function of human mesotrypsin is digestive degradation of trypsin inhibitors. This mechanism can facilitate the digestion of foods rich in natural trypsin inhibitors. Furthermore, the findings raise the possibility that inappropriate activation of mesotrypsinogen in the pancreas might lower protective SPINK1 levels and contribute to the development of human pancreatitis. In this regard, it is noteworthy that the well known pathological trypsinogen activator cathepsin B exhibited a preference for the activation of mesotrypsinogen of all three human trypsinogen isoforms, suggesting a biochemical mechanism for mesotrypsinogen activation in pancreatic acinar cells.
Project description:Mesotrypsin is an unusual human trypsin isoform with inhibitor resistance and the ability to degrade trypsin inhibitors. Degradation of the protective serine protease inhibitor Kazal type 1 (SPINK1) by mesotrypsin in the pancreas may contribute to the pathogenesis of pancreatitis. Here we tested the hypothesis that the regulatory digestive protease chymotrypsin C (CTRC) mitigates the harmful effects of mesotrypsin by cleaving the autolysis loop. As human trypsins are post-translationally sulfated in the autolysis loop, we also assessed the effect of this modification. We found that mesotrypsin cleaved in the autolysis loop by CTRC exhibited catalytic impairment on short peptides due to a 10-fold increase in <i>K<sub>m</sub></i> , it digested ?-casein poorly and bound soybean trypsin inhibitor with 10-fold decreased affinity. Importantly, CTRC-cleaved mesotrypsin degraded SPINK1 with markedly reduced efficiency. Sulfation increased mesotrypsin activity but accelerated CTRC-mediated cleavage of the autolysis loop and did not protect against the detrimental effect of CTRC cleavage. The observations indicate that CTRC-mediated cleavage of the autolysis loop in mesotrypsin decreases protease activity and thereby protects the pancreas against unwanted SPINK1 degradation. The findings expand the role of CTRC as a key defense mechanism against pancreatitis through regulation of intrapancreatic trypsin activity.
Project description:Human chymotrypsin C (CTRC) protects against pancreatitis by degrading trypsinogen and thereby curtailing harmful intra-pancreatic trypsinogen activation. Loss-of-function mutations in CTRC increase the risk for chronic pancreatitis. Here we describe functional analysis of eight previously uncharacterized natural CTRC variants tested for potential defects in secretion, proteolytic stability, and catalytic activity. We found that all variants were secreted from transfected cells normally, and none suffered proteolytic degradation by trypsin. Five variants had normal enzymatic activity, whereas variant p.R29Q was catalytically inactive due to loss of activation by trypsin and variant p.S239C exhibited impaired activity possibly caused by disulfide mispairing. Surprisingly, variant p.G214R had increased activity on a small chromogenic peptide substrate but was markedly defective in cleaving bovine ?-casein or the natural CTRC substrates human cationic trypsinogen and procarboxypeptidase A1. Mutation p.G214R is analogous to the evolutionary mutation in human mesotrypsin, which rendered this trypsin isoform resistant to proteinaceous inhibitors and conferred its ability to cleave these inhibitors. Similarly to the mesotrypsin phenotype, CTRC variant p.G214R was inhibited poorly by eglin C, ecotin, or a CTRC-specific variant of SGPI-2, and it readily cleaved the reactive-site peptide bonds in eglin C and ecotin. We conclude that CTRC variants p.R29Q, p.G214R, and p.S239C are risk factors for chronic pancreatitis. Furthermore, the mesotrypsin-like CTRC variant highlights how the same natural mutation in homologous pancreatic serine proteases can evolve a new physiological role or lead to pathology, determined by the biological context of protease function.
Project description:Mutations in the activation peptide of human cationic trypsinogen have been found in patients with chronic pancreatitis. Previous biochemical studies demonstrated that mutations p.D19A, p.D22G, and p.K23R strongly stimulate trypsinogen autoactivation. In the present study, we characterized the cell biological effects of these mutants using human embryonic kidney 293T and AR42J rat acinar cells. We found that relative to wild-type trypsinogen, secretion of the mutants from transfected cells was markedly decreased. This apparent secretion defect was completely rescued by inhibition of autoactivation via (1) inclusion of the small molecule trypsin inhibitor benzamidine in the growth medium; or (2) cotransfection with the physiological trypsin inhibitor SPINK1; or (3) by mutation of the catalytic Ser(200) residue in trypsinogen. In contrast, extracellularly added SPINK1 or other nonpermeable proteinaceous trypsin inhibitors did not restore normal secretion of the mutants, indicating that intracellular autoactivation is responsible for the observed secretion loss. Acinar cells expressing the p.D22G mutant detached from the culture plate over time, became terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling-positive, and exhibited elevated levels of the proapoptotic transcription factor CHOP. The observations indicate that activation peptide mutants of human cationic trypsinogen undergo autoactivation intracellularly, which leads to decreased trypsinogen secretion and eventual acinar cell death. The results thus define a novel pathological pathway for parenchymal injury in hereditary chronic pancreatitis.
Project description:More than twenty years ago Rinderknecht et al. identified a minor trypsin isoform resistant to natural trypsin inhibitors in the human pancreatic juice. At the same time, Estell and Laskowski found that an inhibitor-resistant trypsin from the pyloric caeca of the starfish, Dermasterias imbricata rapidly hydrolyzed the reactive-site peptide bonds of trypsin inhibitors. A connection between these two seminal discoveries was made recently, when human mesotrypsin was shown to cleave the reactive-site peptide bond of the Kunitz-type soybean trypsin inhibitor, and degrade the Kazal-type pancreatic secretory trypsin inhibitor. These observations indicate that proteases specialized for the degradation of protease inhibitors are ubiquitous in metazoa, and prompt new investigations into their biological significance. Here we review the history and properties of human mesotrypsin, and discuss its function in the digestive degradation of dietary trypsin inhibitors and possible pathophysiological role in pancreatitis.
Project description:PRSS3/mesotrypsin is an atypical isoform of trypsin, the up-regulation of which has been implicated in promoting tumour progression. Mesotrypsin inhibitors could potentially provide valuable research tools and novel therapeutics, but small-molecule trypsin inhibitors have low affinity and little selectivity, whereas protein trypsin inhibitors bind poorly and are rapidly degraded by mesotrypsin. In the present study, we use mutagenesis of a mesotrypsin substrate, APPI (amyloid precursor protein Kunitz protease inhibitor domain), and of a poor mesotrypsin inhibitor, BPTI (bovine pancreatic trypsin inhibitor), to dissect mesotrypsin specificity at the key P(2)' position. We find that bulky and charged residues strongly disfavour binding, whereas acidic residues facilitate catalysis. Crystal structures of mesotrypsin complexes with BPTI variants provide structural insights into mesotrypsin specificity and inhibition. Through optimization of the P(1) and P(2)' residues of BPTI, we generate a stable high-affinity mesotrypsin inhibitor with an equilibrium binding constant K(i) of 5.9 nM, a >2000-fold improvement in affinity over native BPTI. Using this engineered inhibitor, we demonstrate the efficacy of pharmacological inhibition of mesotrypsin in assays of breast cancer cell malignant growth and pancreatic cancer cell invasion. Although further improvements in inhibitor selectivity will be important before clinical potential can be realized, the results of the present study support the feasibility of engineering protein protease inhibitors of mesotrypsin and highlight their therapeutic potential.
Project description:Mesotrypsin displays unusual resistance to inhibition by polypeptide trypsin inhibitors and cleaves some such inhibitors as substrates, despite a high degree of conservation with other mammalian trypsins. Substitution of Arg for the generally conserved Gly-193 has been implicated as a critical determinant of the unusual behavior of mesotrypsin toward protein protease inhibitors. Another relatively conserved residue near the trypsin active site, Tyr-39, is substituted by Ser-39 in mesotrypsin. Tyr-39, but not Ser-39, forms a hydrogen bond with the main chain amide nitrogen of the P(4) ' residue of a bound protease inhibitor. To investigate the role of the Tyr-39 H-bond in trypsin-inhibitor interactions, we reciprocally mutated position 39 in mesotrypsin and human cationic trypsin to Tyr-39 and Ser-39, respectively. We assessed inhibition constants and cleavage rates of canonical protease inhibitors bovine pancreatic trypsin inhibitor (BPTI) and the amyloid precursor protein Kunitz protease inhibitor domain by mesotrypsin and cationic trypsin variants, finding that the presence of Ser-39 relative to Tyr-39 results in a 4- to 13-fold poorer binding affinity and a 2- to 18-fold increase in cleavage rate. We also report the crystal structure of the mesotrypsin-S39Y•BPTI complex, in which we observe an H-bond between Tyr-39 OH and BPTI Ile-19 N. Our results indicate that the presence of Ser-39 in mesotrypsin, and corresponding absence of a single H-bond to the inhibitor backbone, makes a small but significant functional contribution to the resistance of mesotrypsin to inhibition and the ability of mesotrypsin to proteolyze inhibitors.
Project description:Human mesotrypsin is highly homologous to other mammalian trypsins, and yet it is functionally unique in possessing resistance to inhibition by canonical serine protease inhibitors and in cleaving these inhibitors as preferred substrates. Arg-193 and Ser-39 have been identified as contributors to the inhibitor resistance and cleavage capability of mesotrypsin, but it is not known whether these residues fully account for the unusual properties of mesotrypsin. Here, we use human cationic trypsin as a template for engineering a gain of catalytic function, assessing mutants containing mesotrypsin-like mutations for resistance to inhibition by bovine pancreatic trypsin inhibitor (BPTI) and amyloid precursor protein Kunitz protease inhibitor (APPI), and for the ability to hydrolyze these inhibitors as substrates. We find that Arg-193 and Ser-39 are sufficient to confer mesotrypsin-like resistance to inhibition; however, compared with mesotrypsin, the trypsin-Y39S/G193R double mutant remains 10-fold slower at hydrolyzing BPTI and 2.5-fold slower at hydrolyzing APPI. We identify two additional residues in mesotrypsin, Lys-74 and Asp-97, which in concert with Arg-193 and Ser-39 confer the full catalytic capability of mesotrypsin for proteolysis of BPTI and APPI. Novel crystal structures of trypsin mutants in complex with BPTI suggest that these four residues function cooperatively to favor conformational dynamics that assist in dissociation of cleaved inhibitors. Our results reveal that efficient inhibitor cleavage is a complex capability to which at least four spatially separated residues of mesotrypsin contribute. These findings suggest that inhibitor cleavage represents a functional adaptation of mesotrypsin that may have evolved in response to positive selection pressure.
Project description:Studies on hereditary pancreatitis have provided evidence in favor of central role for trypsin activity in the disease. Identification of genetic variants of trypsinogen linked the protease to the onset of pancreatitis, and biochemical characterization proposed an enzymatic gain of function as the initiating mechanism. Mutations of serine protease inhibitor Kazal type 1 gene (SPINK1) are shown to be associated with hereditary pancreatitis. We previously reported that Spink3 (a mouse homolog gene of human SPINK1) deficient mice showed excessive autophagy, followed by inappropriate trypsinogen activation in the exocrine pancreas. These data indicate that the role of SPINK1/Spink3 is not only trypsin inhibitor, but also negative regulator of autophagy. On the other hand, recent studies showed that high levels of SPINK1 protein detected in a serum or urine were associated with adverse outcome in various cancer types. It has been suggested that expression of SPINK1 and trypsin is balanced in normal tissue, but this balance could be disrupted during tumor progression. Based on the structural similarity between SPINK1 and epidermal growth factor (EGF), we showed that SPINK1 protein binds and activates EGF receptor, thus acting as a growth factor on tumor cell lines. In this review, we summarize the old and new roles of SPINK1/Spink3 in trypsin inhibition, autophagy, and cancer cell growth. These new functions of SPINK1/Spink3 may be related to the development of chronic pancreatitis.
Project description:Chronic pancreatitis is a common inflammatory disease of the pancreas. Mutations in the genes encoding cationic trypsinogen (PRSS1) and the pancreatic secretory trypsin inhibitor (SPINK1) are associated with chronic pancreatitis. Because increased proteolytic activity owing to mutated PRSS1 enhances the risk for chronic pancreatitis, mutations in the gene encoding anionic trypsinogen (PRSS2) may also predispose to disease. Here we analyzed PRSS2 in individuals with chronic pancreatitis and controls and found, to our surprise, that a variant of codon 191 (G191R) is overrepresented in control subjects: G191R was present in 220/6,459 (3.4%) controls but in only 32/2,466 (1.3%) affected individuals (odds ratio 0.37; P = 1.1 x 10(-8)). Upon activation by enterokinase or trypsin, purified recombinant G191R protein showed a complete loss of trypsin activity owing to the introduction of a new tryptic cleavage site that renders the enzyme hypersensitive to autocatalytic proteolysis. In conclusion, the G191R variant of PRSS2 mitigates intrapancreatic trypsin activity and thereby protects against chronic pancreatitis.
Project description:Hereditary chronic pancreatitis (HCP) is a very rare form of early onset chronic pancreatitis. With the exception of the young age at diagnosis and a slower progression, the clinical course, morphological features and laboratory findings of HCP do not differ from those of patients with alcoholic chronic pancreatitis. As well, diagnostic criteria and treatment of HCP resemble that of chronic pancreatitis of other causes. The clinical presentation is highly variable and includes chronic abdominal pain, impairment of endocrine and exocrine pancreatic function, nausea and vomiting, maldigestion, diabetes, pseudocysts, bile duct and duodenal obstruction, and rarely pancreatic cancer. Fortunately, most patients have a mild disease. Mutations in the PRSS1 gene, encoding cationic trypsinogen, play a causative role in chronic pancreatitis. It has been shown that the PRSS1 mutations increase autocatalytic conversion of trypsinogen to active trypsin, and thus probably cause premature, intrapancreatic trypsinogen activation disturbing the intrapancreatic balance of proteases and their inhibitors. Other genes, such as the anionic trypsinogen (PRSS2), the serine protease inhibitor, Kazal type 1 (SPINK1) and the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) have been found to be associated with chronic pancreatitis (idiopathic and hereditary) as well. Genetic testing should only be performed in carefully selected patients by direct DNA sequencing and antenatal diagnosis should not be encouraged. Treatment focuses on enzyme and nutritional supplementation, pain management, pancreatic diabetes, and local organ complications, such as pseudocysts, bile duct or duodenal obstruction. The disease course and prognosis of patients with HCP is unpredictable. Pancreatic cancer risk is elevated. Therefore, HCP patients should strongly avoid environmental risk factors for pancreatic cancer.