Secreted LasA of Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a staphylolytic protease

Efrat Kessler*, Mary Safrin, Joan C. Olson, Dennis E. Ohman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

244 Scopus citations


Full expression of the elastolytic phenotype of Pseudomonas aeruginosa depends on LasA, an extracellular protease with restricted specificity whose mode of action on elastin and biological role is not understood. LasA exhibits amino acid sequence homology to some bacteriolytic proteases and shares several physicochemical properties with the staphylolytic protease of P. aeruginosa. This led us to examine whether the two proteases are the same. Production of LasA and staphylolytic protease by prototrophic and lasA mutant strains of P. aeruginosa was investigated. The two prototrophic strains examined, PAO1 and FRD2, exhibited extracellular staphylolytic activity and secreted LasA. LasA mutants, PAO-E64 lasA1 (Ts), FRD2128 ΔlasA, and FRD244 lasA::mTn10, did not exhibit staphylolytic activity. A low level of the LasA protein was detected in the culture filtrate of the temperature-sensitive lasA mutant PAO-E64, but none was detectable in those of the deletion and insertion mutants, FRD2128, and FRD244, respectively. The staphylolytic protease was purified from the culture filtrate of P. aeruginosa strain FRD2 by DEAE-cellulose chromatography. The purified enzyme hydrolyzed pentaglycine into the respective di- and tripeptides and reacted specifically with antibodies against a synthetic peptide identical in sequence to positions 77-98 in LasA. The amino-terminal sequence of the first 15 amino acid residues of the staphylolytic protease was found to be identical with that of the secreted LasA. These results clearly indicate that LasA is a staphylolytic protease. In addition to lysing staphylococci, it may enhance elastolysis by cleaving Gly-Gly bonds, which are abundant in elastin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7503-7508
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number10
StatePublished - 5 Apr 1993


FundersFunder number
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious DiseasesR01AI026187


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