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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Kinetics and sequence specificity of processing of prepilin by PilD, the type IV leader peptidase of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

PilD, originally isolated as an essential component for the biogenesis of the type IV pili of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, is a unique endopeptidase responsible for processing the precursors of the P. aeruginosa pilin subunits. It is also required for the cleavage of the leader peptides from the Pdd proteins, which are essential components of an extracellular secretion pathway specific for the export of a number of P. aeruginosa hydrolytic enzymes and toxins. Substrates for PilD are initially synthesized with short, i.e., 6- to 8-amino-acid-long, leader peptides with a net basic charge and share a high degree of amino acid homology through the first 16 to 30 residues at the amino terminus. In addition, they all have a phenylalanine residue at the +1 site relative to the cleavage site, which is N methylated prior to assembly into the oligomeric structures. In this study, the kinetics of leader peptide cleavage from the precursor of the P. aeruginosa pilin subunit by PilD was determined in vitro. The rates of cleavage were compared for purified enzyme and substrate as well as for enzyme and substrate contained within total membranes extracted from P. aeruginosa strains overexpressing the cloned pilD or pilA genes. Optimal conditions were obtained only when both PilD and substrate were contained within total membranes. PilD catalysis of P. aeruginosa prepilin followed normal Michaelis-Menten kinetics, with a measured apparent Km of approximately 650 microM, and a kcat of 180 min-1. The kinetics of PilD processing of another type IV pilin precursor, that from Neisseria gonorrhoeae with a 7-amino-acid-long leader peptide, were essentially the same as that measured for wild-type P. aeruginosa prepilin. Quite different results were obtained for a number of prepilin substrates containing substitutions at the conserved phenylalanine at the +1 position relative to the cleavage site, which were previously shown to be well tolerated in vivo. Substitutions of methionine, serine, and cysteine for phenylalanine show that Km values remain close to that measured for wild-type substrate, while kcat and kcat/Km values were significantly decreased. This indicates that while the affinity of enzyme for substrate is relatively unaffected by the substitutions, the maximum rate of catalysis favors a phenylalanine at this position. Interesting, PilD cleavage of one mutated pillin (asparagine) resulted in a lower Km value of 52.5 microM, which indicates a higher affinity for the enzyme, as well as a lower kcat value of 6.1 min m(-1). This suggests that it may be feasible to design peptide inhibitors of PilD.[1]


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