Publications by authors named "Magnus Abrahamson"

59 Publications

Externally added cystatin C reduces growth of A375 melanoma cells by increasing cell cycle time.

FEBS Open Bio 2021 Jun 2;11(6):1645-1658. Epub 2021 May 2.

Division of Clinical Chemistry & Pharmacology, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Lund University, Sweden.

Some secreted cysteine protease inhibitors of the cystatin family appear to affect intracellular proteolysis and growth of human cells, as a result of internalization. Here, we studied the effects of external addition of the most abundant human cystatin, cystatin C, on viability and proliferation of cancer cells in culture. A dose-dependent decrease in viable cells was seen for A375 melanoma, MCF-7 breast cancer, and PC-3 prostate cancer cells cultured in 1-5 µm cystatin C after 24 h. Real-time assessment of growth rates in A375 cell cultures for 48 h by digital holographic microscopy showed an increased doubling time for cells cultured in the presence of 5 µm cystatin C (20.1 h) compared with control cells (14.7 h). A prolonged doubling time was already observed during the first 12 h, indicating a rapid general decrease in cell proliferation at the population level. Tracking of individual cells in phase holographic images showed that dividing cells incubated with 5 µm cystatin C underwent fewer mitoses during 48 h than control cells. In addition, the time between cell divisions was longer, especially for the first cell cycle. Incubation with the variant W106F-cystatin C (with high cellular uptake rate) resulted in a lower number of viable cells and a prolonged doubling time than when cells were incubated with wild-type cystatin C, but no effect was observed for (R24A,R25A)-cystatin C (low cellular uptake). Thus, cystatin C causes prolonged cell division leading to decreased proliferation of melanoma cells, and internalization seems to be a prerequisite for this effect.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2211-5463.13162DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8167853PMC
June 2021

Secreted cystatins decrease proliferation and enhance apoptosis of human leukemic cells.

FEBS Open Bio 2020 10 23;10(10):2166-2181. Epub 2020 Sep 23.

Division of Clinical Chemistry & Pharmacology, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Lund University, Sweden.

Cysteine proteases are implicated in proteolysis events favoring cancer cell growth, spread, and death by apoptosis. Herein, we have studied whether the net growth and survival of the leukemic cell lines Jurkat, U937, and HL-60 are affected by external addition of five proteins acting as natural cysteine protease inhibitors. None of the cystatins examined (A, C, D, and E/M) or chagasin showed consistent effects on Fas-induced apoptosis when evaluated at 1 µm. In contrast, when the intrinsic apoptosis pathway was activated by hydrogen peroxide, addition of cystatin D augmented caspase-3-like activity within all three cell lines. Flow cytometric analysis of U937 cells also showed increased numbers of annexin V-positive cells when hydrogen peroxide was used to initiate apoptosis and cells were cultured in the presence of cystatin D or C. Moreover, stimulation of hydrogen peroxide-induced apoptotic U937 cells with either cystatin C or D resulted in a dose-dependent decrease in the number of cells. Cell viability was also decreased when U937 cells were cultured in the presence of cystatin C or D (1-9 µm) only, demonstrating that these cystatins can reduce cell proliferation by themselves in addition to enhancing apoptosis induced by oxidative stress. These effects on U937 cells were paralleled by internalization of cystatins C and D, indicating these effects are caused by downregulation of intracellular proteolysis. External addition of cystatins C and D to HL-60 and Jurkat cells demonstrated similar degrees of cystatin D uptake and decreased viability as for U937 cells, indicating that these effects are general for leukemic cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2211-5463.12958DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7530398PMC
October 2020

Shrunken pore syndrome and mortality: a cohort study of patients with measured GFR and known comorbidities.

Scand J Clin Lab Invest 2020 Sep 27;80(5):412-422. Epub 2020 May 27.

Department of Clinical Chemistry, Skåne University Hospital, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.

Shrunken pore syndrome (SPS) is defined by a cystatin C-based estimation of glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) being less than 60% or 70% of a creatinine-based GFR estimation (eGFR) in the absence of extrarenal influences on cystatin C or creatinine concentrations. SPS has been associated with a substantial increase in mortality or morbidity in all investigated populations. However, in these studies, neither the diagnoses, nor causes of death were described, and only estimated GFR was available. The present study concerns 2781 individuals with measured GFR (mGFR), known diagnoses, and known causes of death during 5.6 years in median. Cox multivariate proportional hazards regression model was used to estimate hazard ratios (HR) for all-cause and cancer, cardiovascular, diabetes or chronic kidney disease (CKD) as cause-specific mortality among patients with SPS. At an eGFR/eGFR-ratio <0.70, the adjusted SPS death risk in the total cohort (HR 3.0, 95% CI 2.4-3.7) was clearly higher than that for the other diagnosis groups. In a sub-cohort of 1300 persons with or without diagnosis, but with normal mGFR, the all-cause mortality of SPS was markedly increased (HR 4.1, 95% CI 2.6-6.5). In a sub-cohort of 567 persons with normal mGFR and no diagnosis, the all-cause mortality of SPS was even more increased (HR 7.3, 95% CI 2.3-23). The prevalence of SPS in the total cohort was 23% and in the sub-cohorts 17 and 12%, respectively. As SPS is associated with a high mortality, occurs in the absence of reduced mGFR and albuminuria, it expands the spectrum of kidney disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00365513.2020.1759139DOI Listing
September 2020

Insufficient mixing of thawed serum samples leading to erroneous results - experience from a field study and use of a correction procedure.

Scand J Clin Lab Invest 2020 Feb - Apr;80(2):99-105. Epub 2019 Dec 18.

La Isla Network, Washington, DC, USA.

Incorrect analysis results that are close to expected might not be recognized in scientific studies or routine patient care. In two field studies we obtained unexpected results in a large number of samples. The present study aimed to identify the source of error in the samples from these studies and to validate a method to obtain correct results. Pre-analytical procedures were scrutinized, giving no indications of inappropriate pre-analytical sample handling in the field or during transport in a tropical climate. Using a new set of samples from volunteers in simulation experiments, we observed the known concentration gradient of analytes sampled in gel as well as plain tubes after freezer storage and thawing. Experiments demonstrated that mixing of samples by vortexing alone was not sufficient to disrupt the gradient formed by freezing and thawing, which appeared to cause the problem encountered when we in field studies analyzed and biobanked large sample sets by robot pipetting. A correction procedure was introduced, in which the obtained value of an analyte was multiplied by a correction factor calculated for each sample using the expected sodium level (140 mmol/L) divided by the measured sodium value. When it was validated on results from the simulation experiments, we repeatedly found that the correction lead to results very close to true values for analytes of different size and charge. Usefulness of the procedure was demonstrated when applied to a large set of field study results.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00365513.2019.1700425DOI Listing
February 2021

Shrunken Pore Syndrome Is Associated With Increased Levels of Atherosclerosis-Promoting Proteins.

Kidney Int Rep 2019 Jan 13;4(1):67-79. Epub 2018 Sep 13.

Department of Clinical Chemistry, Skåne University Hospital, Lund, Lund University, Sweden.

Introduction: Shrunken pore syndrome (SPS), originally defined by cystatin C-based estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) being less than 60% of creatinine-based estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) in the absence of extrarenal influences on the plasma levels of cystatin C or creatinine, is associated with a high increase in mortality, even in the absence of reduced glomerular filtration rate (GFR). The objective of the present study was to determine whether the proteome of patients with SPS shows differences from that of patients with normal or reduced measured GFR (mGFR) without SPS.

Methods: Four patient cohorts were included: 1 cohort with normal mGFR without SPS, 1 with normal mGFR with SPS, 1 with reduced mGFR without SPS, and 1 with reduced mGFR with SPS. The plasma levels of 177 selected proteins were analyzed.

Results: Differences in the levels of 30 proteins were specific for SPS; 31 differences were specific for patients with both SPS and reduced mGFR; and 27 were specific for reduced mGFR. Eighteen of the differences specific for SPS concerned proteins described as promoting, or being associated with, atherosclerosis. Twelve of the differences specific for patients with both SPS and reduced mGFR and 10 of the differences specific for reduced mGFR also concerned proteins described as promoting, or being associated with, atherosclerosis. Almost all (82 of 88) of the concentration differences represented increased levels. For SPS, but not for reduced mGFR, a correlation between protein size and increase in level was observed, with smaller proteins being associated with higher levels.

Conclusion: The high mortality in shrunken pore syndrome might be caused by the accumulation of atherosclerosis-promoting proteins in this condition.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ekir.2018.09.002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6308389PMC
January 2019

Low-level internalization of cystatin E/M affects legumain activity and migration of melanoma cells.

J Biol Chem 2017 09 19;292(35):14413-14424. Epub 2017 Jun 19.

From the Department of Laboratory Medicine, Lund University, SE-221 85 Lund, Sweden.

The ratio between proteases and their inhibitors is unbalanced in cancer. The cysteine protease inhibitor cystatin C is internalized by some cancer cells, which affects cellular properties. Here we aimed to investigate if uptake of cystatin C and the related inhibitor cystatin E/M occur in melanoma cell lines and to evaluate to what extent the uptake affects the legumain activity that is typically increased in melanoma. First we studied the basic expression, secretion, and intracellular content of all type 2 cystatins as well as expression and activity of their possible target enzymes legumain and cathepsin B in MDA-MB-435S, A375, and C8161 melanoma cells. Legumain activity was measureable in all cell lines, and of the potential legumain inhibitors, cystatin C, E/M, and F, cystatin C was the one mainly produced. All cells internalized cystatin C added to culture media, leading to increased intracellular cystatin C levels by 120-200%. Cystatin E/M was internalized as well but at a modest rate. The effects on intracellular legumain activity were nevertheless pronounced, probably because the cells lacked this inhibitor, and its affinity for legumain is 100-fold higher than that of cystatin C. Likewise, the low-degree uptake resulted in reduced migration and invasion of A375 cells in Matrigel to an extent comparable with the W106F variant of cystatin C with optimal uptake properties and resulting in much higher intracellular levels. Thus, cystatin E/M appears to be a good candidate to efficiently down-regulate the increased legumain activity, possibly important for the malignant phenotype of melanoma cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M117.776138DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5582836PMC
September 2017

Estimating glomerular filtration rate (GFR) in children. The average between a cystatin C- and a creatinine-based equation improves estimation of GFR in both children and adults and enables diagnosing Shrunken Pore Syndrome.

Scand J Clin Lab Invest 2017 Sep 19;77(5):338-344. Epub 2017 May 19.

a Department of Clinical Chemistry , Skåne University Hospital, Lund University , Lund , Sweden.

Estimating glomerular filtration rate (GFR) in adults by using the average of values obtained by a cystatin C- (eGFR) and a creatinine-based (eGFR) equation shows at least the same diagnostic performance as GFR estimates obtained by equations using only one of these analytes or by complex equations using both analytes. Comparison of eGFR and eGFR plays a pivotal role in the diagnosis of Shrunken Pore Syndrome, where low eGFR compared to eGFR has been associated with higher mortality in adults. The present study was undertaken to elucidate if this concept can also be applied in children. Using iohexol and inulin clearance as gold standard in 702 children, we studied the diagnostic performance of 10 creatinine-based, 5 cystatin C-based and 3 combined cystatin C-creatinine eGFR equations and compared them to the result of the average of 9 pairs of a eGFR and a eGFR estimate. While creatinine-based GFR estimations are unsuitable in children unless calibrated in a pediatric or mixed pediatric-adult population, cystatin C-based estimations in general performed well in children. The average of a suitable creatinine-based and a cystatin C-based equation generally displayed a better diagnostic performance than estimates obtained by equations using only one of these analytes or by complex equations using both analytes. Comparing eGFR and eGFR may help identify pediatric patients with Shrunken Pore Syndrome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00365513.2017.1324175DOI Listing
September 2017

Inhibition of lipopolysaccharide-induced osteoclast formation and bone resorption in vitro and in vivo by cysteine proteinase inhibitors.

J Leukoc Biol 2017 05 14;101(5):1233-1243. Epub 2017 Feb 14.

Department of Molecular Periodontology, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden;

Inflammation-induced bone destruction is a major treatment target in many inflammatory skeletal diseases. The aim of this study was to investigate if the cysteine proteinase inhibitors cystatin C, fungal cysteine proteinase inhibitor (E-64), and -benzyloxycarbonyl-arginyl-leucyl-valyl-glycyl-diazomethane acetate (Z-RLVG-CHN) can inhibit LPS-induced osteoclast formation. Mouse bone marrow macrophages (BMMs) were isolated and primed with receptor activator of NF-κB ligand (RANKL) for 24 h, followed by stimulation with LPS, with and without inhibitors. Adult mice were injected locally with LPS and then treated with E-64 and osteoclast formation assessed by the number of cathepsin K multinucleated cells. Cystatin C inhibited LPS-induced osteoclast formation time and concentration dependently (IC = 0.3 μM). The effect was associated with decreased mRNA and protein expression of tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) and cathepsin K and of the osteoclastogenic transcription factors c-Fos and NFATc1. LPS-induced osteoclast formation on bone slices was also inhibited by cystatin C, resulting in decreased pit formation and release of bone matrix proteins. Similar data were obtained with E-64 and Z-RLVG-CHN Cystatin C was internalized in BMMs stimulated by LPS but not in unstimulated BMMs. Osteoclast formation induced by LPS was dependent on TNF-α, and the 3 inhibitors abolished LPS-induced TNF superfamily 2 (gene encoding TNF-α; ) mRNA expression without affecting , , or oncostatin M () expression. Formation of osteoclasts in the skull bones after local LPS stimulation was inhibited by E-64. It is concluded that cysteine proteinase inhibitors effectively inhibit LPS-induced osteoclast formation in vivo and in vitro by inhibition of TNF-α expression. The targeting of cysteine proteinases might represent a novel treatment modality for prevention of inflammatory bone loss.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1189/jlb.3A1016-433RDOI Listing
May 2017

Calcium Regulates the Activity and Structural Stability of Tpr, a Bacterial Calpain-like Peptidase.

J Biol Chem 2015 Nov 18;290(45):27248-27260. Epub 2015 Sep 18.

Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Biotechnology, Jagiellonian University, 30-387 Krakow, Poland,; Malopolska Center of Biotechnology, Jagiellonian University, 30-387 Krakow, Poland; Department of Oral Immunology and Infectious Diseases, University of Louisville School of Dentistry, Louisville, Kentucky 40202.

Porphyromonas gingivalis is a peptide-fermenting asaccharolytic periodontal pathogen. Its genome contains several genes encoding cysteine peptidases other than gingipains. One of these genes (PG1055) encodes a protein called Tpr (thiol protease) that has sequence similarity to cysteine peptidases of the papain and calpain families. In this study we biochemically characterize Tpr. We found that the 55-kDa Tpr inactive zymogen proteolytically processes itself into active forms of 48, 37, and 33 kDa via sequential truncations at the N terminus. These processed molecular forms of Tpr are associated with the bacterial outer membrane where they are likely responsible for the generation of metabolic peptides required for survival of the pathogen. Both autoprocessing and activity were dependent on calcium concentrations >1 mm, consistent with the protein's activity within the intestinal and inflammatory milieus. Calcium also stabilized the Tpr structure and rendered the protein fully resistant to proteolytic degradation by gingipains. Together, our findings suggest that Tpr is an example of a bacterial calpain, a calcium-responsive peptidase that may generate substrates required for the peptide-fermenting metabolism of P. gingivalis. Aside from nutrient generation, Tpr may also be involved in evasion of host immune response through degradation of the antimicrobial peptide LL-37 and complement proteins C3, C4, and C5. Taken together, these results indicate that Tpr likely represents an important pathogenesis factor for P. gingivalis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M115.648782DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4646396PMC
November 2015

Fertility defects in mice expressing the L68Q variant of human cystatin C: a role for amyloid in male infertility.

J Biol Chem 2014 Mar 5;289(11):7718-29. Epub 2014 Feb 5.

From the Department of Cell Biology and Biochemistry, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, Texas 79430 and.

Hereditary cystatin C amyloid angiopathy is an autosomal dominant disorder in which a variant form of cystatin C (L68Q) readily forms amyloid deposits in cerebral arteries in affected individuals resulting in early death. L68Q protein deposits in human cystatin C amyloid angiopathy patients have also been found in tissues outside of the brain including the testis, suggesting possible effects on fertility. Heterozygous transgenic mice (L68Q) that express the human L68Q variant of cystatin C under the control of the mouse cystatin C promoter were unable to generate offspring, suggesting the presence of L68Q cystatin C amyloid affected sperm function. In vitro studies showed that epididymal spermatozoa from L68Q mice were unable to fertilize oocytes and exhibited poor sperm motility. Furthermore, spermatozoa from L68Q mice exhibited reduced cell viability compared with wild type (WT) spermatozoa and often were detected in large agglutinated clumps. Examination of the epididymal fluid and spermatozoa from L68Q mice showed increased levels and distinct forms of cystatin C amyloid that were not present in WT mice. The addition of epididymal fluid from L68Q mice to WT spermatozoa resulted in a recapitulation of the L68Q phenotype in that WT spermatozoa showed reduced cell viability and motility compared with WT spermatozoa incubated in epididymal fluid from WT mice. L68Q epididymal fluid that was depleted of cystatin C amyloids, however, did not impair the motility of WT spermatozoa. Taken together these studies suggest that amyloids in the epididymal fluid can be cytotoxic to the maturing spermatozoa resulting in male infertility.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M113.515759DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3953282PMC
March 2014

Cystatin C properties crucial for uptake and inhibition of intracellular target enzymes.

J Biol Chem 2013 Jun 29;288(23):17019-17029. Epub 2013 Apr 29.

Department of Laboratory Medicine, Lund University, SE-221 85 Lund, Sweden.

To elucidate the molecular requirements for cancer cell internalization of the extracellular cysteine protease inhibitor cystatin C, 12 variants of the protein were produced and used for uptake experiments in MCF-7 cells. Variants with alterations in the cysteine cathepsin binding region ((Δ1-10)-, K5A-, R8G-, (R8G,L9G,V10G)-, (R8G,L9G,V10G,W106G)-, and W106G-cystatin C) were internalized to a very low extent compared with the wild-type inhibitor. Substitutions of N39 in the legumain binding region (N39K- and N39A-cystatin C) decreased the internalization and (R24A,R25A)-cystatin C, with substitutions of charged residues not involved in enzyme inhibition, was not taken up at all. Two variants, W106F- and K75A-cystatin C, showed that the internalization can be positively affected by engineering of the cystatin molecule. Microscopy revealed vesicular co-localization of internalized cystatin C with the lysosomal marker proteins cathepsin D and legumain. Activities of both cysteine cathepsins and legumain, possible target enzymes associated with cancer cell invasion and metastasis, were down-regulated in cell homogenates following cystatin C uptake. A positive effect on regulation of intracellular enzyme activity by a cystatin variant selected from uptake properties was illustrated by incubating cells with W106F-cystatin C. This resulted in more efficient down-regulation of intracellular legumain activity than when cells were incubated with wild-type cystatin C. Uptake experiments in prostate cancer cells corroborated that the cystatin C internalization is generally relevant and confirmed an increased uptake of W106F-cystatin C, in PC3 cells. Thus, intracellular cysteine proteases involved in cancer-promoting processes might be controled by cystatin uptake.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M113.453449DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3675633PMC
June 2013

Stabilization, characterization, and selective removal of cystatin C amyloid oligomers.

J Biol Chem 2013 Jun 29;288(23):16438-16450. Epub 2013 Apr 29.

Department of Clinical Chemistry, Lund University Hospital, S-22185 Lund, Sweden. Electronic address:

The pathophysiological process in amyloid disorders usually involves the transformation of a functional monomeric protein via potentially toxic oligomers into amyloid fibrils. The structure and properties of the intermediary oligomers have been difficult to study due to their instability and dynamic equilibrium with smaller and larger species. In hereditary cystatin C amyloid angiopathy, a cystatin C variant is deposited in arterial walls and cause brain hemorrhage in young adults. In the present investigation, we use redox experiments of monomeric cystatin C, stabilized against domain swapping by an intramolecular disulfide bond, to generate stable oligomers (dimers, trimers, tetramers, decamers, and high molecular weight oligomers). These oligomers were characterized concerning size by gel filtration, polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, and mass spectrometry, shape by electron and atomic force microscopy, and, function by assays of their capacity to inhibit proteases. The results showed the oligomers to be highly ordered, domain-swapped assemblies of cystatin C and that the oligomers could not build larger oligomers, or fibrils, without domain swapping. The stabilized oligomers were used to induce antibody formation in rabbits. After immunosorption, using immobilized monomeric cystatin C, and elution from columns with immobilized cystatin C oligomers, oligomer-specific antibodies were obtained. These could be used to selectively remove cystatin C dimers from biological fluids containing both dimers and monomers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M113.469593DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3675580PMC
June 2013

Cysteine proteinase inhibitors regulate human and mouse osteoclastogenesis by interfering with RANK signaling.

FASEB J 2013 Jul 9;27(7):2687-701. Epub 2013 Apr 9.

Department of Molecular Periodontology, Umeå University, SE-901 87 Umeå, Sweden.

The cysteine proteinase inhibitor cystatin C inhibited RANKL-stimulated osteoclast formation in mouse bone marrow macrophage cultures, an effect associated with decreased mRNA expression of Acp5, Calcr, Ctsk, Mmp9, Itgb3, and Atp6i, without effect on proliferation or apoptosis. The effects were concentration dependent with half-maximal inhibition at 0.3 μM. Cystatin C also inhibited osteoclast formation when RANKL-stimulated osteoclasts were cultured on bone, leading to decreased formation of resorption pits. RANKL-stimulated cells retained characteristics of phagocytotic macrophages when cotreated with cystatin C. Three other cysteine proteinase inhibitors, cystatin D, Z-RLVG-CHN2 (IC50 0.1 μM), and E-64 (IC50 3 μM), also inhibited osteoclast formation in RANKL-stimulated macrophages. In addition, cystatin C, Z-RLVG-CHN2, and E-64 inhibited osteoclastic differentiation of RANKL-stimulated CD14(+) human monocytes. The effect by cystatin C on differentiation of bone marrow macrophages was exerted at an early stage after RANKL stimulation and was associated with early (4 h) inhibition of c-Fos expression and decreased protein and nuclear translocation of c-Fos. Subsequently, p52, p65, IκBα, and Nfatc1 mRNA were decreased. Cystatin C was internalized in osteoclast progenitors, a process requiring RANKL stimulation. These data show that cystatin C inhibits osteoclast differentiation and formation by interfering intracellularly with signaling pathways downstream RANK.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1096/fj.12-211748DOI Listing
July 2013

Intra- and extracellular regulation of activity and processing of legumain by cystatin E/M.

Biochimie 2012 Dec 10;94(12):2590-9. Epub 2012 Aug 10.

Department of Pharmaceutical Biosciences, School of Pharmacy, University of Oslo, Norway.

Legumain, an asparaginyl endopeptidase, is up-regulated in tumour and tumour-associated cells, and is linked to the processing of cathepsin B, L, and proMMP-2. Although legumain is mainly localized to the endosomal/lysosomal compartments, legumain has been reported to be localized extracellularly in the tumour microenvironment and associated with extracellular matrix and cell surfaces. The most potent endogenous inhibitor of legumain is cystatin E/M, which is a secreted protein synthesised with an export signal. Therefore, we investigated the cellular interplay between legumain and cystatin E/M. As a cell model, HEK293 cells were transfected with legumain cDNA, cystatin E/M cDNA, or both, and over-expressing monoclonal cell lines were selected (termed M38L, M4C, and M3CL, respectively). Secretion of prolegumain from M38L cells was inhibited by treatment with brefeldin A, whereas bafilomycin A1 enhanced the secretion. Cellular processing of prolegumain to the 46 and 36 kDa enzymatically active forms was reduced by treatment with either substance alone. M38L cells showed increased, but M4C cells decreased, cathepsin L processing suggesting a crucial involvement of legumain activity. Furthermore, we observed internalization of cystatin E/M and subsequently decreased intracellular legumain activity. Also, prolegumain was shown to internalize followed by increased intracellular legumain processing and activation. In addition, in M4C cells incomplete processing of the internalized prolegumain was observed, as well as nuclear localized cystatin E/M. Furthermore, auto-activation of secreted prolegumain was inhibited by cystatin E/M, which for the first time shows a regulatory role of cystatin E/M in controlling both intra- and extracellular legumain activity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biochi.2012.07.026DOI Listing
December 2012

Proteolysis of cystatin C by cathepsin D in the breast cancer microenvironment.

FASEB J 2012 Dec 16;26(12):5172-81. Epub 2012 Aug 16.

Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM) U896, Université Montpellier1, Montpellier, France.

The aspartic protease cathepsin D, a poor prognostic indicator of breast cancer, is abundantly secreted as procathepsin D by human breast cancer cells and self-activates at low pH in vitro, giving rise to catalytically active cathepsin D. Due to a lower extracellular pH in tumor microenvironments compared to normal tissues, cathepsin D may cleave pathophysiological substrates contributing to cancer progression. Here, we show by yeast 2-hybrid and degradomics analyses that cystatin C, the most potent natural secreted inhibitor of cysteine cathepsins, both binds to and is a substrate of extracellular procathepsin D. The amount of cystatin C in the extracellular environment is reduced in the secretome of mouse embryonic fibroblasts stably transfected with human cathepsin D. Cathepsin D extensively cleaved cystatin C in vitro at low pH. Cathepsin D secreted by breast cancer cells also processed cystatin C at the pericellular pH of tumors and so enhancing extracellular proteolytic activity of cysteine cathepsins. Thus, tumor derived cathepsin D assists breast cancer progression by reducing cystatin C activity, which, in turn, enhances cysteine cathepsin proteolytic activity, revealing a new link between protease classes in the protease web.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1096/fj.12-205229DOI Listing
December 2012

Cleavage of IgG1 and IgG3 by gingipain K from Porphyromonas gingivalis may compromise host defense in progressive periodontitis.

FASEB J 2011 Oct 18;25(10):3741-50. Epub 2011 Jul 18.

Department of Laboratory Medicine, Division of Clinical Chemistry and Pharmacology, Lund University, University Hospital, SE-221 85 Lund, Sweden.

Degradation of immunoglobulins is an effective strategy of bacteria to evade the immune system. We have tested whether human IgG is a substrate for gingipain K of Porphyromonas gingivalis and found that the enzyme can hydrolyze subclass 1 and 3 of human IgG. The heavy chain of IgG(1) was cleaved at a single site within the hinge region, generating Fab and Fc fragments. IgG(3) was also cleaved within the heavy chain, but at several sites around the CH2 region. Investigation of the enzyme kinetics of IgG proteolysis by gingipain K, using FPLC- and isothermal titration calorimetry-based assays followed by Hill plots, revealed non-Michaelis-Menten kinetics involving a mechanism of positive cooperativity. In ex vivo studies, it was shown that gingipain K retained its IgG hydrolyzing activity in human plasma despite the high content of natural protease inhibitors; that IgG(1) cleavage products were detected in gingival crevicular fluid samples from patients with severe periodontitis; and that gingipain K treatment of serum samples from patients with high antibody titers against P. gingivalis significantly hindered opsonin-dependent phagocytosis of clinical isolates of P. gingivalis by neutrophils. Altogether, these findings underline a biological function of gingipain K as an IgG protease of pathophysiological importance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1096/fj.11-187799DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3177567PMC
October 2011

Cystatins--Extra- and intracellular cysteine protease inhibitors: High-level secretion and uptake of cystatin C in human neuroblastoma cells.

Biochimie 2010 Nov 25;92(11):1625-34. Epub 2010 Aug 25.

Department of Laboratory Medicine, Division of Clinical Chemistry and Pharmacology, Lund University, Skåne University Hospital, SE-221 85 Lund, Sweden.

Cystatins are present in mammals, birds, fish, insects, plants, fungi and protozoa and constitute a large protein family, with most members sharing a cysteine protease inhibitory function. In humans 12 functional cystatins exist, forming three groups based on molecular organisation and distribution in the organism. The type 1 cystatins (A and B) are known as intracellular, type 2 cystatins (C, D, E/M, F, G, S, SN and SA) extracellular and type 3 cystatins (L- and H-kininogen) intravascular proteins. The present paper is focused on the human cystatins and especially those of type 2, which are directed (with signal peptides) for cellular export following translation. Results indicating existence of systems for significant internalisation of type 2 cystatins from the extracellular to intracellular compartments are reviewed. Data showing that human neuroblastoma cell lines generally secrete high levels, but also contain high amounts of cystatin C are presented. Culturing of these cells in medium containing cystatin C at concentrations found in body fluids resulted in increased intracellular cystatin C, as a result of an uptake process. At immunofluorescence cytochemistry a pronounced vesicular cystatin C staining was observed. The simplistic denotation of the type 2 cystatins as extracellular inhibitors is thus challenged, and possible biological functions of the internalised cystatins are discussed. To illustrate the special case of high cellular cystatin content seen in cells of patients with hereditary cystatin C amyloid angiopathy, expression vectors for wild-type and L68Q mutated cystatin C were used to transfect SK-N-BE(2) cells. Clones overexpressing the two variants showed increased secreted levels of cystatin C. Within the cells the L68Q variant appeared to mainly localise to the endoplasmic reticulum rather than to acidic vesicular organelles, indicating limitations in the transport out from the cell rather than increased uptake as explanation for the elevated cellular cystatin levels seen in hereditary cystatin C amyloid angiopathy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biochi.2010.08.011DOI Listing
November 2010

Streptococcal inhibitor of complement-mediated lysis (SIC): an anti-inflammatory virulence determinant.

Microbiology (Reading) 2010 Dec 12;156(Pt 12):3660-3668. Epub 2010 Aug 12.

Department of Clinical Sciences, Division of Infection Medicine, Lund University, BMC, B14, SE-22184 Lund, Sweden.

Since the late 1980s, a worldwide increase of severe Streptococcus pyogenes infections has been associated with strains of the M1 serotype, strains which all secrete the streptococcal inhibitor of complement-mediated lysis (SIC). Previous work has shown that SIC blocks complement-mediated haemolysis, inhibits the activity of antibacterial peptides and has affinity for the human plasma proteins clusterin and histidine-rich glycoprotein; the latter is a member of the cystatin protein family. The present work demonstrates that SIC binds to cystatin C, high-molecular-mass kininogen (HK) and low-molecular-mass kininogen, which are additional members of this protein family. The binding sites in HK are located in the cystatin-like domain D3 and the endothelial cell-binding domain D5. Immobilization of HK to cellular structures plays a central role in activation of the human contact system. SIC was found to inhibit the binding of HK to endothelial cells, and to reduce contact activation as measured by prolonged blood clotting time and impaired release of bradykinin. These results suggest that SIC modifies host defence systems, which may contribute to the virulence of S. pyogenes strains of the M1 serotype.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1099/mic.0.039578-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7336538PMC
December 2010

Phenotype associated with mutation in the recently identified autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa KLHL7 gene.

Arch Ophthalmol 2010 Jun;128(6):772-8

Department of Clinical Sciences, Ophthalmology, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.

Objective: To characterize the clinical phenotype, with an emphasis on electrophysiologic findings, in a family with autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa caused by mutation in the recently identified KLHL7 gene.

Methods: Eleven patients from a single family were selected from the Swedish retinitis pigmentosa register. Four patients had been examined 13 to 17 years earlier and underwent further ophthalmologic examination, including visual acuity, fundus inspection, Goldmann perimetry, full-field electroretinography (ERG), multifocal ERG, and optical coherence tomography. KLHL7 mutation was identified by sequence analysis.

Results: In most examined family members, the fundus showed minor abnormalities. Full-field ERG demonstrated reduced cone and rod function, but rod responses were preserved in some patients late in life. Follow-up (T) in 7 family members.

Conclusions: Observed in 2 Scandinavian families to date, KLHL7 mutation has recently been associated with autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa. Clinical examination with long-term follow-up verified a phenotype with a varying degree of retinal photoreceptor dysfunction and, in some family members, with late onset and preserved rod function until late in life. Clinical Relevance Patients with minor retinal abnormalities and normal ERG findings early in life can harbor an autosomal dominant form of retinitis pigmentosa with a varying degree of visual impediment. Some patients with late onset may retain night vision for many years.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/archophthalmol.2010.98DOI Listing
June 2010

Cystatin E/M suppresses legumain activity and invasion of human melanoma.

BMC Cancer 2010 Jan 15;10:17. Epub 2010 Jan 15.

Department of Tumor Biology, Institute for Cancer Research, Radiumhospitalet, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway.

Background: High activity of cysteine proteases such as legumain and the cathepsins have been shown to facilitate growth and invasion of a variety of tumor types. In breast cancer, several recent studies have indicated that loss of the cysteine protease inhibitor cystatin E/M leads to increased growth and metastasis. Although cystatin E/M is normally expressed in the skin, its role in cysteine protease regulation and progression of malignant melanoma has not been studied.

Methods: A panel of various non-melanoma and melanoma cell lines was used. Cystatin E/M and C were analyzed in cell media by immunoblotting and ELISA. Legumain, cathepsin B and L were analyzed in cell lysates by immunoblotting and their enzymatic activities were analyzed by peptide substrates. Two melanoma cell lines lacking detectable secretion of cystatin E/M were transfected with a cystatin E/M expression plasmid (pCST6), and migration and invasiveness were studied by a Matrigel invasion assay.

Results: Cystatin E/M was undetectable in media from all established melanoma cell lines examined, whereas strong immunobands were detected in two of five primary melanoma lines and in two of six lines derived from patients with metastatic disease. Among the four melanoma lines secreting cystatin E/M, the glycosylated form (17 kD) was predominant compared to the non-glycosylated form (14 kD). Legumain, cathepsin B and L were expressed and active in most of the cell lines, although at low levels in the melanomas expressing cystatin E/M. In the melanoma lines where cystatin E/M was secreted, cystatin C was generally absent or expressed at a very low level. When melanoma cells lacking secretion of cystatin E/M were transfected with pCST6, their intracellular legumain activity was significantly inhibited. In contrast, cathepsin B activity was not affected. Furthermore, invasion was suppressed in cystatin E/M over-expressing melanoma cell lines as measured by the transwell Matrigel assay.

Conclusions: These results suggest that the level of cystatin E/M regulates legumain activity and hence the invasive potential of human melanoma cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2407-10-17DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2822816PMC
January 2010

Cystatin C is downregulated in prostate cancer and modulates invasion of prostate cancer cells via MAPK/Erk and androgen receptor pathways.

PLoS One 2009 Nov 23;4(11):e7953. Epub 2009 Nov 23.

Department of Clinical Sciences, Division of Urological Cancers, Clinical Research Center, University Hospital Malmö, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden.

Cystatin C is believed to prevent tumor progression by inhibiting the activities of a family of lysosomal cysteine proteases. However, little is known about the precise mechanism of cystatin C function in prostate cancer. In the present study, we examined the expression of cystatin C and its association with matrix metalloproteinases 2 (MMP2) and androgen receptor (AR) in a tissue microarray comparing benign and malignant specimens from 448 patients who underwent radical prostatectomy for localized prostate cancer. Cystatin C expression was significantly lower in cancer specimens than in benign tissues (p<0.001) and there was a statistically significant inverse correlation between expression of cystatin C and MMP2 (r(s) (2) = -0.056, p = 0.05). There was a clear trend that patients with decreased level of cystatin C had lower overall survival. Targeted inhibition of cystatin C using specific siRNA resulted in an increased invasiveness of PC3 cells, whereas induction of cystatin C overexpression greatly reduced invasion rate of PC3 in vitro. The effect of cystatin C on modulating the PC3 cell invasion was provoked by Erk2 inhibitor that specifically inhibited MAPK/Erk2 activity. This suggests that cystatin C may mediate tumor cell invasion by modulating the activity of MAPK/Erk cascades. Consistent with our immunohistochemical findings that patients with low expression of cystatin C and high expression of androgen receptor (AR) tend to have worse overall survival than patients with high expression of cystatin C and high AR expression, induced overexpression of AR in PC3 cells expressing cystatin C siRNA greatly enhanced the invasiveness of PC3 cells. This suggests that there may be a crosstalk between cystatin C and AR-mediated pathways. Our study uncovers a novel role for cystatin C and its associated cellular pathways in prostate cancer invasion and metastasis.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0007953PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2776515PMC
November 2009

Mutations in a BTB-Kelch protein, KLHL7, cause autosomal-dominant retinitis pigmentosa.

Am J Hum Genet 2009 Jun;84(6):792-800

Neurobiology-Neurodegeneration & Repair Laboratory (N-NRL), National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.

Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) refers to a genetically heterogeneous group of progressive neurodegenerative diseases that result in dysfunction and/or death of rod and cone photoreceptors in the retina. So far, 18 genes have been identified for autosomal-dominant (ad) RP. Here, we describe an adRP locus (RP42) at chromosome 7p15 through linkage analysis in a six-generation Scandinavian family and identify a disease-causing mutation, c.449G-->A (p.S150N), in exon 6 of the KLHL7 gene. Mutation screening of KLHL7 in 502 retinopathy probands has revealed three different missense mutations in six independent families. KLHL7 is widely expressed, including expression in rod photoreceptors, and encodes a 75 kDa protein of the BTB-Kelch subfamily within the BTB superfamily. BTB-Kelch proteins have been implicated in ubiquitination through Cullin E3 ligases. Notably, all three putative disease-causing KLHL7 mutations are within a conserved BACK domain; homology modeling suggests that mutant amino acid side chains can potentially fill the cleft between two helices, thereby affecting the ubiquitination complexes. Mutations in an identical region of another BTB-Kelch protein, gigaxonin, have previously been associated with giant axonal neuropathy. Our studies suggest an additional role of the ubiquitin-proteasome protein-degradation pathway in maintaining neuronal health and in disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2009.05.007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2694974PMC
June 2009

Macrophage responses to interferon-gamma are dependent on cystatin C levels.

Int J Biochem Cell Biol 2009 Nov 13;41(11):2262-9. Epub 2009 May 13.

Department of Laboratory Medicine, Division of Clinical Chemistry and Pharmacology, Lund University, University Hospital, SE-221 85 Lund, Sweden.

The aim of the present investigation was to elucidate possible effects of cystatin C on inflammatory responses mediated by macrophages. Previously it has been shown that in vitro treatment of murine peritoneal macrophages with interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) causes a down-regulation of cystatin C secretion. To investigate whether such changes in cystatin C expression in turn can affect inflammatory responses mediated by macrophages, we have compared effects of IFN-gamma on macrophages isolated from wild-type (cysC(+/+)) and cystatin C knockout (cysC(-/-)) mice. It was shown that IFN-gamma-primed cysC(-/-) macrophages exhibit significantly higher interleukin-10 (IL-10) but lower tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) expression, and reduced nuclear factor (NF)-kappaB p65 activation, compared to similarly primed cysC(+/+) cells. Exogenously added cystatin C enhanced IFN-gamma-induced activation of NF-kappaB p65 and increased mRNA levels for inducible NO synthase (iNOS) in cysC(-/-) macrophages as well as levels of nitric oxide and TNF-alpha in the cell culture medium, in agreement with an enhanced pro-inflammatory response. Accordingly, IFN-gamma-induced IL-10 mRNA expression in cysC(-/-) macrophages was down-regulated by exogenously added cystatin C. Taken together, our data provide evidence that changes in cystatin C levels alter macrophage responses to IFN-gamma. The latter down-regulates the production of cystatin C, which leads to a suppressed inflammatory condition with enhanced IL-10 levels and down-regulated TNF-alpha and NF-kappaB. It is concluded that cystatin C through this effect can act as an immunomodulatory molecule.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocel.2009.05.005DOI Listing
November 2009

Crystal structure of the parasite inhibitor chagasin in complex with papain allows identification of structural requirements for broad reactivity and specificity determinants for target proteases.

FEBS J 2009 Feb;276(3):793-806

Institute of Technical Biochemistry, Faculty of Biotechnology and Food Sciences, Technical University of Lodz, Poland.

A complex of chagasin, a protein inhibitor from Trypanosoma cruzi, and papain, a classic family C1 cysteine protease, has been crystallized. Kinetic studies revealed that inactivation of papain by chagasin is very fast (k(on) = 1.5 x 10(6) M(-1) x s(-1)), and results in the formation of a very tight, reversible complex (K(i) = 36 pM), with similar or better rate and equilibrium constants than those for cathepsins L and B. The high-resolution crystal structure shows an inhibitory wedge comprising three loops, which forms a number of contacts responsible for the high-affinity binding. Comparison with the structure of papain in complex with human cystatin B reveals that, despite entirely different folding, the two inhibitors utilize very similar atomic interactions, leading to essentially identical affinities for the enzyme. Comparisons of the chagasin-papain complex with high-resolution structures of chagasin in complexes with cathepsin L, cathepsin B and falcipain allowed the creation of a consensus map of the structural features that are important for efficient inhibition of papain-like enzymes. The comparisons also revealed a number of unique interactions that can be used to design enzyme-specific inhibitors. As papain exhibits high structural similarity to the catalytic domain of the T. cruzi enzyme cruzipain, the present chagasin-papain complex provides a reliable model of chagasin-cruzipain interactions. Such information, coupled with our identification of specificity-conferring interactions, should be important for the development of drugs for treatment of the devastating Chagas disease caused by this parasite.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1742-4658.2008.06824.xDOI Listing
February 2009

The human protease inhibitor cystatin C is an activating cofactor for the streptococcal cysteine protease IdeS.

Chem Biol 2008 Sep;15(9):960-8

Department of Laboratory Medicine, Division of Clinical Chemistry and Pharmacology, Lund University, University Hospital, Lund, Sweden.

Human cystatin C is considered the physiologically most important inhibitor of endogenous papain-like cysteine proteases. We present here an unexpected function of cystatin C. Instead of acting as an inhibitor, cystatin C acts as a facultative, endogenous cofactor for the papain-like IgG-cleaving enzyme IdeS of the human pathogen Streptococcus pyogenes. IdeS activity is not dependent on cystatin C, but is significantly enhanced in the presence of cystatin C. We report a protease inhibitor that accelerates the activity of its putative target protease and a unique example of how a host protease inhibitor is "hijacked" by a bacterial protease to increase its activity. This finding has important implications for the view on protease-inhibitor interactions, and is relevant to consider in the therapeutic use of protease inhibitors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chembiol.2008.07.021DOI Listing
September 2008

Internalization of cystatin C in human cell lines.

FEBS J 2008 Sep 11;275(18):4571-82. Epub 2008 Aug 11.

Department of Laboratory Medicine, Lund University, Sweden.

Altered protease activity is considered important for tumour invasion and metastasis, processes in which the cysteine proteases cathepsin B and L are involved. Their natural inhibitor cystatin C is a secreted protein, suggesting that it functions to control extracellular protease activity. Because cystatins added to cell cultures can inhibit polio, herpes simplex and coronavirus replication, which are intracellular processes, the internalization and intracellular regulation of cysteine proteases by cystatin C should be considered. The extension, mechanism and biological importance of this hypothetical process are unknown. We investigated whether internalization of cystatin C occurs in a set of human cell lines. Demonstrated by flow cytometry and confocal microscopy, A-431, MCF-7, MDA-MB-453, MDA-MB-468 and Capan-1 cells internalized fluorophore-conjugated cystatin C when exposed to physiological concentrations (1 microm). During cystatin C incubation, intracellular cystatin C increased after 5 min and accumulated for at least 6 h, reaching four to six times the baseline level. Western blotting showed that the internalized inhibitor was not degraded. It was functionally intact and extracts of cells exposed to cystatin C showed a higher capacity to inhibit papain and cathepsin B than control cells (decrease in enzyme activity of 34% and 37%, respectively). The uptake of labelled cystatin C was inhibited by unlabelled inhibitor, suggesting a specific pathway for the internalization. We conclude that the cysteine protease inhibitor cystatin C is internalized in significant quantities in various cancer cell lines. This is a potentially important physiological phenomenon not previously described for this group of inhibitors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1742-4658.2008.06600.xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7163943PMC
September 2008

Displacement of the occluding loop by the parasite protein, chagasin, results in efficient inhibition of human cathepsin B.

J Biol Chem 2008 Aug 30;283(33):22815-25. Epub 2008 May 30.

Faculty of Biotechnology and Food Sciences, Technical University of Lodz, 90-924 Lodz, Poland.

Cathepsin B is a papain-like cysteine protease showing both endo- and exopeptidase activity, the latter due to a unique occluding loop that restricts access to the active site cleft. To clarify the mode by which natural protein inhibitors manage to overcome this obstacle, we have analyzed the structure and function of cathepsin B in complexes with the Trypanosoma cruzi inhibitor, chagasin. Kinetic analysis revealed that substitution of His-110e, which anchors the loop in occluding position, results in 3-fold increased chagasin affinity (Ki for H110A cathepsin B, 0.35 nm) due to an improved association rate (kon, 5 x 10(5) m(-1)s(-1)). The structure of chagasin in complex with cathepsin B was solved in two crystal forms (1.8 and 2.67 angstroms resolution), demonstrating that the occluding loop is displaced to allow chagasin binding with its three loops, L4, L2, and L6, spanning the entire active site cleft. The occluding loop is differently displaced in the two structures, indicating a large range of movement and adoption of conformations forced by the inhibitor. The area of contact is slightly larger than in chagasin complexes with the endopeptidase, cathepsin L. However, residues important for high affinity to both enzymes are mainly found in the outer loops L4 and L6 of chagasin. The chagasin-cathepsin B complex provides a structural framework for modeling and design of inhibitors for cruzipain, the parasite cysteine protease and a virulence factor in Chagas disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M802064200DOI Listing
August 2008

rd1 Mouse retina shows an imbalance in the activity of cysteine protease cathepsins and their endogenous inhibitor cystatin C.

Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2008 Mar;49(3):1089-96

Department of Ophthalmology Research, Biomedical Centre B-13, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.

Purpose: To compare in vivo levels, spatial localization, and in vitro secretion of cysteine protease cathepsins and cystatin C (cysC) in the retinal degeneration 1 (rd1) mouse model of retinitis pigmentosa and control (wt) mouse retinas.

Methods: The spatial localization, protein contents, cysC levels and cathepsin-B, -S, and -L activities in wt and rd1 retinas at postnatal (PN) days 2, 7, 14, 21, and 28 were analyzed by immunostaining, spectrophotometry, ELISA, and fluorescence spectrophotometry. The in vitro secretion of cysC and cysteine proteases by PN7 retinal explants into the conditioned medium (RCM) was quantified.

Results: The pigment epithelium, photoreceptors, and inner retinal and ganglion cell layers of both wt and rd1 retinas showed cysC and cathepsin-B labeling. CysC immunostaining was extensive in the optic nerve head fibers. The rd1 explants secreted higher amounts of cysteine protease into the RCM. The protein content in wt and rd1 retinal extracts increased up to PN14, then decreased in rd1 but not in wt. In rd1 extracts at PN14 to -28, cathepsin activity was higher and increased with age, but the cysC level was higher and constant. The ratios of cathepsin activity to cysC (cathepsin-L at PN2 and total, -B, and -L at PN14 to -28) were higher in rd1 extracts.

Conclusions: Similar localization of both cathepsin-B and cysC in wt and rd1 retinas along with lower proteins and higher cathepsin activity in rd1 retinal extracts and RCM are consistent with their localization in extracellular matrix and a role in physiopathologic remodeling in wt and rd1 retinas.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1167/iovs.07-0549DOI Listing
March 2008

The cysteine protease inhibitors cystatins inhibit herpes simplex virus type 1-induced apoptosis and virus yield in HEp-2 cells.

J Gen Virol 2007 Aug;88(Pt 8):2101-2105

Department of Virology, University of Turku, Finland.

The role of cystatins in herpes simplex virus (HSV)-induced apoptosis and viral replication has been studied. Human epithelial (HEp-2) cells infected with wild-type HSV-1 (F), with a deletion virus lacking the anti-apoptotic gene Us3 (R7041) or with a deletion virus lacking the anti-apoptotic genes Us3 and ICP4 (d120) were treated with cystatin A, C or D. Cells and culture media were studied at different time points for replicating HSV-1 and for apoptosis. Cystatins C and D inhibited the yield of replicative HSV-1 significantly in HEp-2 cells. In addition, cystatin D inhibited R7041 and d120 virus-induced apoptosis. Moreover, cystatin A inhibited R7041-induced apoptosis. These inhibitory effects of cystatins on virus replication and apoptosis are likely to be separate functions. Cystatin D treatment decreased cellular cathepsin B activity in HSV-1 infection, suggesting that cathepsin B is involved in virus-induced apoptosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1099/vir.0.82990-0DOI Listing
August 2007

Crystal structure of the parasite protease inhibitor chagasin in complex with a host target cysteine protease.

J Mol Biol 2007 Aug 10;371(1):137-53. Epub 2007 May 10.

Department of Laboratory Medicine, Division of Clinical Chemistry and Pharmacology, Lund University, University Hospital, SE-221 85 Lund, Sweden.

Chagasin is a protein produced by Trypanosoma cruzi, the parasite that causes Chagas' disease. This small protein belongs to a recently defined family of cysteine protease inhibitors. Although resembling well-known inhibitors like the cystatins in size (110 amino acid residues) and function (they all inhibit papain-like (C1 family) proteases), it has a unique amino acid sequence and structure. We have crystallized and solved the structure of chagasin in complex with the host cysteine protease, cathepsin L, at 1.75 A resolution. An inhibitory wedge composed of three loops (L2, L4, and L6) forms a number of contacts responsible for high-affinity binding (K(i), 39 pM) to the enzyme. All three loops interact with the catalytic groove, with the central loop L2 inserted directly into the catalytic center. Loops L4 and L6 embrace the enzyme molecule from both sides and exhibit distinctly different patterns of protein-protein recognition. Comparison with a 1.7 A structure of uncomplexed chagasin, also determined in this study, demonstrates that a conformational change of the first binding loop (L4) allows extended binding to the non-primed substrate pockets of the enzyme active site cleft, thereby providing a substantial part of the inhibitory surface. The mode of chagasin binding is generally similar, albeit distinctly different in detail, when compared to those displayed by cystatins and the cysteine protease inhibitory p41 fragment of the invariant chain. The chagasin-cathepsin L complex structure provides details of how the parasite protein inhibits a host enzyme of possible importance in host defense. The high level of structural and functional similarity between cathepsin L and the T. cruzi enzyme cruzipain gives clues to how the cysteine protease activity of the parasite can be targeted. This information will aid in the development of synthetic inhibitors for use as potential drugs for the treatment of Chagas disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jmb.2007.05.005DOI Listing
August 2007
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