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Gene Review

PCSK6  -  proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 6

Homo sapiens

Synonyms: PACE4, Paired basic amino acid cleaving enzyme 4, Proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 6, SPC4, Subtilisin-like proprotein convertase 4, ...
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Disease relevance of PCSK6


Psychiatry related information on PCSK6

  • The test battery and questionnaire on function and physical activity were administered twice, 7-10 days apart to 38 men and 12 women aged 54-80 years at the Baltimore Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Tests included fast pace 4 and 20-meter walks, 6-minute and graded treadmill walks, and a seated step test [6].

High impact information on PCSK6

  • The construct with all three sites mutated (termed proNGF123) gave all proNGF with no mature NGF and was not cleaved by three proconvertases (furin, PACE-4, and PC-2) known to proteolyze proneurotrophins in vivo [7].
  • Using an animal model of human SCC progression, we provide evidence of increased PACE4 expression in SPCC cell lines and primary tumors induced by chemical carcinogenesis protocols, thus implicating this proprotein convertase in the process of tumor progression [8].
  • Expression of PACE4 in chemically induced carcinomas is associated with spindle cell tumor conversion and increased invasive ability [8].
  • Although convertases such as PACE4 and PC6B processed proADAMTS-1, we found that furin was the most efficient enzyme at producing the mature ADAMTS-1 87-kDa moiety [9].
  • Multiple transcripts are produced for all the mammalian convertases, but only in the cases of PC4, PACE4, and PC5 does differential splicing result in the modification of the C-terminal sequence of these enzymes [10].

Biological context of PCSK6

  • These results suggest that the alteration of PACE4 gene expression by hASH-1 causes rapid changes in the biological activities of TGF-beta-related proteins via post-translational modification of these proteins [1].
  • Like that of furin, the tissue distribution of PACE4 is widespread [11].
  • PACE4 promoter activity was measured in HeyC2 and OCC-1 cells using transiently transfected luciferase reporter plasmids [12].
  • Methylation analysis of 79 CpG dinucleotides within the PACE4 promoter and exon I (-196/+340) revealed that the percentage of methylated cytosine nucleotides was 8-9% in normal OSE, but 58-93% in OC cells [12].
  • The observation that established OC cell lines have reduced PACE4 expression, but maintained the ability to support PACE4 promoter activity, led to the hypothesis that reduced expression may be due to epigenetic modification of the PACE4 gene, such as DNA methylation and histone deacetylation [12].

Anatomical context of PCSK6

  • The expressions of PACE4 and hASH-1 are correlated inversely in these cell lines [1].
  • In contrast, PC2 transcripts were detected only in skin mast cells, whereas transcripts for paired basic amino acid converting enzyme 4 (PACE4) were present only in HMC-1 cells [13].
  • We previously reported that PACE4 is highly expressed in syncytiotrophoblasts of human placenta [Tsuji et al. (2003) BIOCHIM: Biophys. Acta 1645, 95-104] [2].
  • In contrast, PACE4-CS is not secreted since it remains in the endoplasmic reticulum as an inactive zymogen form, thereby emphasizing the importance of the integrity of the P-domain [14].
  • PACE4 is expressed at high levels in the anterior pituitary, central nervous system, the developing olfactory bulb, heart, and liver [15].

Associations of PCSK6 with chemical compounds

  • An apparent association was observed only between PACE4 and estrogen receptors [16].
  • Heparin has no inhibitory activity against PACE4 [17].
  • The interaction between PACE4 and heparan sulfate proteoglycans might play an important role in the delicate spatiotemporal regulation of TGFbeta-related factors' biological activity [17].
  • Treatment with the demethylating agent 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine and/or the histone deacetylase inhibitor trichostatin A greatly increased PACE4 expression in OC cells [12].
  • The deduced PACE4C protein sequence (652 amino acids) lacks the cysteine-rich region located at the carboxy terminus of PACE4 [18].

Other interactions of PCSK6


Analytical, diagnostic and therapeutic context of PCSK6

  • Site-directed mutagenesis studies demonstrate that the proteolytic activation of SPC4 occurs mainly through a unimolecular autocatalytic process and propeptide cleavage is a prerequisite for its export from the ER [22].
  • By in situ hybridization, Mash-2 (mammalian achaete-scute homologue 2) mRNA was found to be expressed in the spongiotrophoblast layer where PACE4 was not expressed [2].
  • Understanding the functions of the widely expressed PCs (prohormone/proprotein convertases), including PC5/6, furin and PACE4 (paired basic amino acid cleaving enzyme 4), in animal models is difficult since individual knockouts of these PCs in mice exhibit early embryonic lethality [23].
  • Immunoblotting detected furin and PACE4 proteins (both members of this family) to be present in the rat liver subcellular fraction containing insulin proreceptor processing activity [24].
  • Confocal microscopy and biochemical analyses revealed that the CRD is essential for cell surface tethering of PC5A and PACE4 and that it colocalizes and coimmunoprecipitates with the full-length and C-terminal domain of TIMP-2 [25].


  1. Proprotein convertase PACE4 is down-regulated by the basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor hASH-1 and MASH-1. Yoshida, I., Koide, S., Hasegawa, S.I., Nakagawara, A., Tsuji, A., Matsuda, Y. Biochem. J. (2001) [Pubmed]
  2. The expression of proprotein convertase PACE4 is highly regulated by Hash-2 in placenta: possible role of placenta-specific basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor, human achaete-scute homologue-2. Koide, S., Yoshida, I., Tsuji, A., Matsuda, Y. J. Biochem. (2003) [Pubmed]
  3. Comparative analysis of expression of the proprotein convertases furin, PACE4, PC1 and PC2 in human lung tumours. Mbikay, M., Sirois, F., Yao, J., Seidah, N.G., Chrétien, M. Br. J. Cancer (1997) [Pubmed]
  4. Proprotein-processing endoproteases PC6 and furin both activate hemagglutinin of virulent avian influenza viruses. Horimoto, T., Nakayama, K., Smeekens, S.P., Kawaoka, Y. J. Virol. (1994) [Pubmed]
  5. A role for PACE4 in the proteolytic activation of anthrax toxin protective antigen. Gordon, V.M., Rehemtulla, A., Leppla, S.H. Infect. Immun. (1997) [Pubmed]
  6. Assessment of physical function and exercise tolerance in older adults: reproducibility and comparability of five measures. Simonsick, E.M., Gardner, A.W., Poehlman, E.T. Aging (Milan, Italy) (2000) [Pubmed]
  7. Construction of a mutated pro-nerve growth factor resistant to degradation and suitable for biophysical and cellular utilization. Pagadala, P.C., Dvorak, L.A., Neet, K.E. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2006) [Pubmed]
  8. Expression of PACE4 in chemically induced carcinomas is associated with spindle cell tumor conversion and increased invasive ability. Hubbard, F.C., Goodrow, T.L., Liu, S.C., Brilliant, M.H., Basset, P., Mains, R.E., Klein-Szanto, A.J. Cancer Res. (1997) [Pubmed]
  9. Identification of prodomain determinants involved in ADAMTS-1 biosynthesis. Longpré, J.M., Leduc, R. J. Biol. Chem. (2004) [Pubmed]
  10. Processing specificity and biosynthesis of the Drosophila melanogaster convertases dfurin1, dfurin1-CRR, dfurin1-X, and dfurin2. De Bie, I., Savaria, D., Roebroek, A.J., Day, R., Lazure, C., Van de Ven, W.J., Seidah, N.G. J. Biol. Chem. (1995) [Pubmed]
  11. Structure and function of eukaryotic proprotein processing enzymes of the subtilisin family of serine proteases. Van de Ven, W.J., Roebroek, A.J., Van Duijnhoven, H.L. Critical reviews in oncogenesis. (1993) [Pubmed]
  12. Epigenetic regulation of proprotein convertase PACE4 gene expression in human ovarian cancer cells. Fu, Y., Campbell, E.J., Shepherd, T.G., Nachtigal, M.W. Mol. Cancer Res. (2003) [Pubmed]
  13. Human mast cells in the neurohormonal network: expression of POMC, detection of precursor proteases, and evidence for IgE-dependent secretion of alpha-MSH. Artuc, M., Böhm, M., Grützkau, A., Smorodchenko, A., Zuberbier, T., Luger, T., Henz, B.M. J. Invest. Dermatol. (2006) [Pubmed]
  14. Functional analysis of human PACE4-A and PACE4-C isoforms: identification of a new PACE4-CS isoform. Zhong, M., Benjannet, S., Lazure, C., Munzer, S., Seidah, N.G. FEBS Lett. (1996) [Pubmed]
  15. Human subtilisin-like proprotein convertase, PACE4 (SPC4) gene expression is highly regulated through E-box elements in HepG2 and GH4C1 cells. Tsuji, A., Yoshida, S., Hasegawa, S., Bando, M., Yoshida, I., Koide, S., Mori, K., Matsuda, Y. J. Biochem. (1999) [Pubmed]
  16. Pro-protein convertase gene expression in human breast cancer. Cheng, M., Watson, P.H., Paterson, J.A., Seidah, N., Chrétien, M., Shiu, R.P. Int. J. Cancer (1997) [Pubmed]
  17. Secretory proprotein convertases PACE4 and PC6A are heparin-binding proteins which are localized in the extracellular matrix. Potential role of PACE4 in the activation of proproteins in the extracellular matrix. Tsuji, A., Sakurai, K., Kiyokage, E., Yamazaki, T., Koide, S., Toida, K., Ishimura, K., Matsuda, Y. Biochim. Biophys. Acta (2003) [Pubmed]
  18. Identification of novel cDNAs encoding human kexin-like protease, PACE4 isoforms. Tsuji, A., Higashine, K., Hine, C., Mori, K., Tamai, Y., Nagamune, H., Matsuda, Y. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. (1994) [Pubmed]
  19. Endoproteolytic processing of integrin pro-alpha subunits involves the redundant function of furin and proprotein convertase (PC) 5A, but not paired basic amino acid converting enzyme (PACE) 4, PC5B or PC7. Lissitzky, J.C., Luis, J., Munzer, J.S., Benjannet, S., Parat, F., Chrétien, M., Marvaldi, J., Seidah, N.G. Biochem. J. (2000) [Pubmed]
  20. Subtilisin-like proprotein convertases, PACE4 and PC8, as well as furin, are endogenous proalbumin convertases in HepG2 cells. Mori, K., Imamaki, A., Nagata, K., Yonetomi, Y., Kiyokage-Yoshimoto, R., Martin, T.J., Gillespie, M.T., Nagahama, M., Tsuji, A., Matsuda, Y. J. Biochem. (1999) [Pubmed]
  21. Development of selectivity of alpha1-antitrypsin variant by mutagenesis in its reactive site loop against proprotein convertase. A crucial role of the P4 arginine in PACE4 inhibition. Tsuji, A., Ikoma, T., Hashimoto, E., Matsuda, Y. Protein Eng. (2002) [Pubmed]
  22. Biosynthetic processing and quaternary interactions of proprotein convertase SPC4 (PACE4). Nagahama, M., Taniguchi, T., Hashimoto, E., Imamaki, A., Mori, K., Tsuji, A., Matsuda, Y. FEBS Lett. (1998) [Pubmed]
  23. RNAi-mediated silencing of prohormone convertase (PC) 5/6 expression leads to impairment in processing of cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript (CART) precursor. Stein, J., Shah, R., Steiner, D.F., Dey, A. Biochem. J. (2006) [Pubmed]
  24. A Kex2-related endopeptidase activity present in rat liver specifically processes the insulin proreceptor. Alarcón, C., Cheatham, B., Lincoln, B., Kahn, C.R., Siddle, K., Rhodes, C.J. Biochem. J. (1994) [Pubmed]
  25. The cysteine-rich domain of the secreted proprotein convertases PC5A and PACE4 functions as a cell surface anchor and interacts with tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases. Nour, N., Mayer, G., Mort, J.S., Salvas, A., Mbikay, M., Morrison, C.J., Overall, C.M., Seidah, N.G. Mol. Biol. Cell (2005) [Pubmed]
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