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Activation of the furin endoprotease is a multiple-step process: requirements for acidification and internal propeptide cleavage



Activation of the furin endoprotease is a multiple-step process: requirements for acidification and internal propeptide cleavage



Embo Journal 16(7): 1508-1518



Activation of furin requires autoproteolytic cleavage of its 83-amino acid propeptide at the consensus furin site, Arg-Thr-Lys-Arg107/. This RER-localized cleavage is necessary, but not sufficient, for enzyme activation. Rather, full activation of furin requires exposure to, and correct routing within, the TGN/endosomal system. Here, we identify the steps in addition to the initial propeptide cleavage necessary for activation of furin. Exposure of membrane preparations containing an inactive RER-localized soluble furin construct to either: (i) an acidic and calcium-containing environment characteristic of the TGN; or (ii) mild trypsinization at neutral pH, resulted in the activation of the endoprotease. Taken together, these results suggest that the pH drop facilitates the removal of a furin inhibitor. Consistent with these findings, following cleavage in the RER, the furin propeptide remains associated with the enzyme and functions as a potent inhibitor of the endoprotease. Co-immunoprecipitation studies coupled with analysis by mass spectrometry show that release of the propeptide at acidic pH, and hence activation of furin, requires a second cleavage within the autoinhibitory domain at a site containing a P6 arginine (-Arg70-Gly-Val-Thr-Lys-Arg75/-). The significance of this cleavage in regulating the compartment-specific activation of furin, and the relationship of the furin activation pathway to those of other serine endoproteases are discussed.

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Accession: 008102230

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 9130696

DOI: 10.1093/emboj/16.7.1508


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