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

Purification of three cytotoxic lymphocyte granule serine proteases that induce apoptosis through distinct substrate and target cell interactions.

We recently reported the purification of a lymphocyte granule protein called "fragmentin," which was identified as a serine protease with the ability to induce oligonucleosomal DNA fragmentation and apoptosis (Shi, L., R. P. Kraut, R. Aebersold, and A. H. Greenberg. 1992. J. Exp. Med. 175:553). We have now purified two additional proteases with fragmentin activity from lymphocyte granules. The three proteases are of two types; one has the unusual ability to cleave a tripeptide thiobenzyl ester substrate after aspartic acid, similar to murine cytotoxic cell protease I/granzyme B, while two are tryptase-like, preferentially hydrolyzing after arginine, and bear some homology to human T cell granule tryptases, granzyme 3, and Hanukah factor/granzyme A. Using tripeptide chloromethyl ketones, the pattern of inhibition of DNA fragmentation corresponded to the inhibition of peptide hydrolysis. The Asp-ase fragmentin was blocked by aspartic acid-containing tripeptide chloromethyl ketones, while the tryptase fragmentins were inhibited by arginine-containing chloromethyl ketones. The two tryptase fragmentins were slow acting and were partly suppressed by blocking proteins synthesis with cycloheximide in the YAC-1 target cell. In contrast, the Asp-ase fragmentin was fast acting and produced DNA damage in the absence of protein synthesis. Using a panel of unrelated target cells of lymphoma, thymoma, and melanoma origin, distinct patterns of sensitivity to the three fragmentins were observed. Thus, these three granule proteases make up a family of fragmentins that activate DNA fragmentation and apoptosis by acting on unique substrates in different target cells.[1]


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