JOURNAL ARTICLE

Inhibition of mammalian legumain by some cystatins is due to a novel second reactive site

M Alvarez-Fernandez, A J Barrett, B Gerhartz, P M Dando, J Ni, M Abrahamson
Journal of Biological Chemistry 1999 July 2, 274 (27): 19195-203
10383426
We have investigated the inhibition of the recently identified family C13 cysteine peptidase, pig legumain, by human cystatin C. The cystatin was seen to inhibit enzyme activity by stoichiometric 1:1 binding in competition with substrate. The Ki value for the interaction was 0.20 nM, i.e. cystatin C had an affinity for legumain similar to that for the papain-like family C1 cysteine peptidase, cathepsin B. However, cystatin C variants with alterations in the N-terminal region and the "second hairpin loop" that rendered the cystatin inactive against cathepsin B, still inhibited legumain with Ki values 0.2-0.3 nM. Complexes between cystatin C and papain inhibited legumain activity against benzoyl-Asn-NHPhNO2 as efficiently as did cystatin C alone. Conversely, cystatin C inhibited papain activity against benzoyl-Arg-NHPhNO2 whether or not the cystatin had been incubated with legumain, strongly indicating that the cystatin inhibited the two enzymes with non-overlapping sites. A ternary complex between legumain, cystatin C, and papain was demonstrated by gel filtration supported by immunoblotting. Screening of a panel of cystatin superfamily members showed that type 1 inhibitors (cystatins A and B) and low Mr kininogen (type 3) did not inhibit pig legumain. Of human type 2 cystatins, cystatin D was non-inhibitory, whereas cystatin E/M and cystatin F displayed strong (Ki 0.0016 nM) and relatively weak (Ki 10 nM) affinity for legumain, respectively. Sequence alignments and molecular modeling led to the suggestion that a loop located on the opposite side to the papain-binding surface, between the alpha-helix and the first strand of the main beta-pleated sheet of the cystatin structure, could be involved in legumain binding. This was corroborated by analysis of a cystatin C variant with substitution of the Asn39 residue in this loop (N39K-cystatin C); this variant showed a slight reduction in affinity for cathepsin B (Ki 1.5 nM) but >5,000-fold lower affinity for legumain (Ki >1,000 nM) than wild-type cystatin C.

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