The molecular mechanism by which heparin modulates the processing of procathepsin L in the extracellular environment is proposed. We show that heparin reduces the stability of the pro form of cathepsin L at pH 5 by binding to a putative heparin binding motif (BBXB) in the pro-domain. Mutations to this motif on procathepsin L reduce heparin binding affinity and heparin-induced destabilization; in contrast, heparin only slightly destabilizes the mature cathepsin L domain. Gel analysis further shows that heparin makes procathepsin L a much better substrate for cathepsin L. Thus, heparin enhances the rate of zymogen activation by destabilization upon binding to the BBXB motif. Determining the mechanism by which procathepsin L is activated in the extracellular matrix is important to the understanding of the role that cathepsin L plays in tumour invasion.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications|
|Publication status||Published - 15 Feb 2008|
- cathepsin L
- binding motif
- cysteine protease
- circular dichroism