Novel cleavage sites for enzyme caspase-3 identified

October 28, 2015

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.

Source: Burnham Institute