Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How Proteins Talk To Each Other

Date:
September 23, 2009
Source:
Burnham Institute
Summary:
Investigators have identified novel cleavage sites for the enzyme caspase-3 (an enzyme that proteolytically cleaves target proteins). Using an advanced proteomic technique called N-terminomics, scientists determined the cleavage sites on target proteins and found, contrary to previous understanding, that caspase-3 targets a-helices as well as unstructured loops.

Prior to this study, scientists believed that proteases primarily cleave in unstructured loops, unstable parts of proteins that are readily accessible. The discovery that caspase-3 also cleaves α-helices contradicts a current dogma and offers new insights into protein signaling pathways.
Credit: Image courtesy of Burnham Institute

Investigators at Burnham Institute for Medical Research (Burnham) have identified novel cleavage sites for the enzyme caspase-3 (an enzyme that proteolytically cleaves target proteins). Using an advanced proteomic technique called N-terminomics, Guy Salvesen, Ph.D., professor and director of the Apoptosis and Cell Death Research program of Burnham’s NCI-designated Cancer Center, and colleagues determined the cleavage sites on target proteins and found, contrary to previous understanding, that caspase-3 targets α-helices as well as unstructured loops.

In addition, researchers found that caspase-3 and the substrates it binds to co-evolved. The paper was published on September 20 in the journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology.

Prior to this study, scientists believed that proteases primarily cleave in unstructured loops, unstable parts of proteins that are readily accessible. The discovery that caspase-3 also cleaves α-helices contradicts a current dogma and offers new insights into protein signaling pathways.

“This was a big surprise because there shouldn’t be anything for a protease to grab onto in a helix,” said Dr. Salvesen. “We found that the basic concept that they don’t cleave to helices is wrong. However, though we’ve found that proteases can cleave helices, we don’t believe that’s their biological function.”

In addition to determining cleavage sites, the team also determined which interactions were “biologically significant.” In other words which cleavages altered the function of the target protein and which ones had little impact.

The team tested the human caspase-3 and the Staphylococcal protease glutamyl endopeptidase (GluC) against the Escherichia coli (E. coli) proteosome. In a second set, the human caspase substrate was challenged with human caspase-3 . The researchers found cleavage sites using N-terminal proteomics (N-terminomics), in which cleaved substrates are tagged at an exposed edge (N-terminal) and analyzed though mass spectrometry. The data from these assays were then matched against lists of substrates in the Protein Data Bank. Notably, caspase-3 did not cleave E. coli proteins as effectively as it did human proteins. However, when hybrid human/E. coli proteins were constructed, cleavage was greatly improved, leading researchers to conclude that caspase-3 co-evolved with its human substrates.

Because they alter the functions of other proteins, proteases like caspase-3 are critical to cell signaling. Understanding how and where they interface with target proteins enhances our ability to understand the progress of diseases.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Burnham Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Burnham Institute. "How Proteins Talk To Each Other." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 September 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090921134652.htm>.
Burnham Institute. (2009, September 23). How Proteins Talk To Each Other. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090921134652.htm
Burnham Institute. "How Proteins Talk To Each Other." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090921134652.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Chimp Violence Study Renews Debate On Why They Kill

Chimp Violence Study Renews Debate On Why They Kill

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) The study weighs in on a debate over whether chimps are naturally violent or become that way due to human interference in the environment. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Scientists say a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins