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Processing specificity and biosynthesis of the Drosophila melanogaster convertases dfurin1, dfurin1-CRR, dfurin1-X, and dfurin2.

Pro-protein and pro-hormone convertases are subtilisin/kexin-like enzymes implicated in the activation of numerous precursors by cleavage at sites mostly composed of pairs of basic amino acids. Six members of this family of enzymes have been identified in mammals and named furin (also called PACE), PC1 (also called PC3), PC2, PACE4, PC4, and PC5 (also called PC6). Multiple transcripts are produced for all the mammalian convertases, but only in the cases of PC4, PACE4, and PC5 does differential splicing result in the modification of the C-terminal sequence of these enzymes. A similar molecular diversity is also observed for the convertases of Hydra vulgaris, Caenorhabditis elegans, and Drosophila melanogaster. In the third species, two genes homologous to human furin called Dfur1 and Dfur2 have been identified. The Dfur1 gene undergoes differential splicing to generate three type I membrane-bound proteins called dfurin1, dfurin1-CRR, and dfurin1-X, which differ only in their C-terminal sequence. By using recombinant vaccinia viruses that express each of the dfurin proteins, we investigated the potential effect of the C-terminal domain on their catalytic specificities. For this purpose, these enzymes were coexpressed with the precursors pro-7B2, pro-opiomelanocortin, and pro-dynorphin in a number of cell lines, and the processed products obtained were characterized. Our studies demonstrate that these proteases display cleavage specificities similar to that of mammalian furin but not to that of PC2. In contrast, we noted significant differences in the biosynthetic fates of these convertases. All dfurins undergo rapid removal of their transmembrane domain within the endoplasmic reticulum, resulting in the release of several truncated soluble forms. However, in the media of cells containing secretory granules, such as GH4C1 and AtT-20, dfurin1-CRR and dfurin2 predominate over dfurin1, whereas dfurin1-X is never detected. While pro-segment removal occurs predominantly in the trans-Golgi network for all the dfurins, in the presence of brefeldin A, only dfurin1-CRR and dfurin2 can undergo partial zymogen cleavage. The conclusions drawn from the results of this study may well be applicable to the mammalian convertases PC4, PACE4, and PC5, which also display C-terminal sequence heterogeneity.[1]


  1. Processing specificity and biosynthesis of the Drosophila melanogaster convertases dfurin1, dfurin1-CRR, dfurin1-X, and dfurin2. De Bie, I., Savaria, D., Roebroek, A.J., Day, R., Lazure, C., Van de Ven, W.J., Seidah, N.G. J. Biol. Chem. (1995) [Pubmed]
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