Synthesis, processing and transport of Pseudomonas aeruginosa elastase

E. Kessler, M. Safrin

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Three cell-associated elastase precursors with approximate molecular weights of 60,000 (P), 56,000 (Pro I), and 36,000 (Pro II) were identified in Pseudomonas aeruginosa cells by pulse-labeling with [35S]methionine and immunoprecipitation. In the absence of inhibitors, cells of a wild-type strain as well as those of the secretion-defective mutant PAKS 18 accumulated Pro II as the only elastase-related radioactive protein. EDTA but not EGTA [ethylene glycol-bis(β-aminoethyl ether)-N,N,N',N'-tetraacetic acid] inhibited the formation of Pro II, and this inhibition was accompanied by the accumulation of Pro I. P accumulated in cells labeled in the presence of ethanol (with or without EDTA), dinitrophenol plus EDTA, or carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenyl hydrazone plus EDTA. Pro I and Pro II were localized to the periplasm, and as evident from pulse-chase experiments, Pro I was converted to the mature extracellular enzyme with Pro II as an intermediate of the reaction. P was located to the membrane fraction. Pro I but not Pro II was immunoprecipitated by antibodies specific to a protein of about 20,000 molecular weight (P20), which, as we showed before (Kessler and Safrin, J. Bacteriol. 170: 1215-1219, 1988), forms a complex with an inactive periplasmic elastase precursor of about 36,000 molecular weight. Our results suggest that the elastase is made by the cells as a preproenzyme (P), containing a signal sequence of about 4,000 molecular weight and a 'pro' sequence of about 20,000 molecular weight. Processing and export of the preproenzyme involve the formation of two periplasmic proenzyme species: proelastase I (56 kilodaltons [kDa]) and proelastase II (36 kDa). The former is short-lived, whereas proelastase II accumulates temporarily in the periplasm, most likely as a complex with the 20-kDa propeptide released from proelastase I upon conversion to proelastase II. The final step in elastase secretion seems to require both the proteolytic removal of a small peptide from proelastase II and dissociation of the latter from P20.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5241-5247
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1988


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