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

Carboxyl-terminal proteolytic processing of matrix Gla protein.

The present study was undertaken to determine the extent of COOH-terminal proteolytic processing in matrix Gla protein (MGP), a 10-kDa protein which contains 5 residues of the vitamin K-dependent Ca2+ binding amino acid, gamma-carboxyglutamic acid (Gla). Two forms of MGP were isolated from demineralization and urea extracts of bovine cortical bone, one 79 residues in length with the COOH terminus Phe-Arg-Gln and the other 83 residues in length with the COOH terminus Phe-Arg-Gln-Arg-Arg-Gly-Ala. The 84-residue form of bovine MGP predicted from the message structure could not be detected in the bone extracellular matrix extracts, and it therefore seems probable that the lysine at position 84 was removed by the action of a carboxypeptidase B-like enzyme prior to secretion. A plausible sequence of proteolytic cleavages that could generate the 79-residue form of MGP would be a trypsin-like cleavage at Arg80-Arg81 or Arg81-Gly82 followed by carboxypeptidase B-like cleavage to remove COOH-terminal arginine(s). Since essentially equal amounts of the 79- and 83-residue forms of MGP were also detected in bovine articular cartilage and plasma, it seems likely that the COOH-terminal processing events identified in bone apply to many of the other tissues which synthesize this protein. Only one form of MGP was detected in human bone extracts, a 77-residue protein that lacks the COOH-terminal residues Arg-Lys-Arg-Arg-Gly-Thr-Lys. This shortened version of human MGP is consistent with the proposed model for COOH-terminal processing, since the amino acid substitution in the COOH terminus of the human protein, Lys79 for Gln79, would allow removal of the additional basic residues from the human MGP COOH terminus by the action of the carboxypeptidase B-like enzymic activity. Recent studies have shown that MGP is strongly induced by retinoic acid in fibroblasts, chondrocytes, and osteoblasts, a response which suggests that MGP mediates an action of retinoic acid on an aspect of cell growth or differentiation. If this hypothesis is true, the present evidence for complex COOH-terminal processing events could provide a means to regulate the as yet unknown activity of MGP in the extracellular environment in a mechanism similar to the activation of hormones such as anaphlotoxins and kinins.[1]


  1. Carboxyl-terminal proteolytic processing of matrix Gla protein. Hale, J.E., Williamson, M.K., Price, P.A. J. Biol. Chem. (1991) [Pubmed]
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