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

Active cathepsins B, H, K, L and S in human inflammatory bronchoalveolar lavage fluids.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Chronic inflammation and tissue remodelling result from an imbalance between proteolytic enzymes and their inhibitors in the lungs in favour of proteolysis. While many studies have examined serine proteases (e.g. cathepsin G and neutrophil elastase) and matrix metalloproteases, little is known about the role of papain-like CPs (cysteine proteases). The present study focuses on the thiol-dependent cathepsins (CPs) and their specific cystatin-like inhibitors [CPIs ( CP inhibitors)] in human inflammatory BALFs ( BAL fluids, where BAL stands for broncho-alveolar lavage). RESULTS: Cathepsins B, K and S found were mostly zymogens, whereas cathepsins H and L were predominantly in their mature forms. Little immunoreactive cystatin C was found and the high- and low-molecular-mass ('weight') kininogens were extensively degraded. The BALF procathepsins B and L could be activated autocatalytically, indicating that alveolar fluid pro-CPs are reservoirs of mature enzymes. Hydrolysis patterns of 7-amino-4-methylcoumarin-derived peptide substrates showed that extracellular alveolar CPs remain proteolytically active, and that cathepsins B and L are the most abundant thiol-dependent endoproteases. The CP/ CPI balance was significantly tipped in favour of cathepsins (3- or 5-fold), as confirmed by the extensive CP-dependent degradation of exogenous kininogens by BALFs. CONCLUSIONS: Although their importance for inflammation remains to be clarified, the presence of active cathepsins L, K and S suggests that they contribute to the extracellular breakdown of the extracellular matrix.[1]


  1. Active cathepsins B, H, K, L and S in human inflammatory bronchoalveolar lavage fluids. Serveau-Avesque, C., Martino, M.F., Hervé-Grépinet, V., Hazouard, E., Gauthier, F., Diot, E., Lalmanach, G. Biol. Cell (2006) [Pubmed]
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