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

Down-regulation of human extracellular cysteine protease inhibitors by the secreted staphylococcal cysteine proteases, staphopain A and B.

Of seven human cystatins investigated, none inhibited the cysteine proteases staphopain A and B secreted by the human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus. Rather, the extracellular cystatins C, D and E/M were hydrolyzed by both staphopains. Based on MALDI-TOF time-course experiments, staphopain A cleavage of cystatin C and D should be physiologically relevant and occur upon S. aureus infection. Staphopain A hydrolyzed the Gly11 bond of cystatin C and the Ala10 bond of cystatin D with similar K(m) values of approximately 33 and 32 muM, respectively. Such N-terminal truncation of cystatin C caused >300-fold lower inhibition of papain, cathepsin B, L and K, whereas the cathepsin H activity was compromised by a factor of ca. 10. Similarly, truncation of cystatin D caused alleviated inhibition of all endogenous target enzymes investigated. The normal activity of the cystatins is thus down-regulated, indicating that the bacterial enzymes can cause disturbance of the host protease-inhibitor balance. To illustrate the in vivo consequences, a mixed cystatin C assay showed release of cathepsin B activity in the presence of staphopain A. Results presented for the specificity of staphopains when interacting with cystatins as natural protein substrates could aid in the development of therapeutic agents directed toward these proteolytic virulence factors.[1]


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