Hemoglobinase activity of a cysteine protease from the ixodid tick Haemaphysalis longicornis.
ABSTRACT We report here the molecular characterization and possible function of a cysteine protease (termed HlCPL-A) identified in the midgut of the hard tick Haemaphysalis longicornis. HlCPL-A is a 333 amino acid protein belonging to the papain family of the cysteine protease. A construct encoding proHlCPL-A was expressed in Escherichia coli and purified as both procathepsin L and active processed cathepsin L forms. The HlCPL-A gene expression was up-regulated by blood-feeding process. HlCPL-A exhibited substrate specificity against synthetic peptidyl substrates (Z-Phe-Arg-MCA and Z-Arg-Arg-MCA; k(cat)/K(m)=0.19 and 0.0023 M(-1) S(-1), respectively). The proteolytic activity of HlCPL-A was inhibited by leupeptin, antipain and E-64 but was unaffected by pepstatin. HlCPL-A was capable of degrading bovine hemoglobin at pH 3.2 to 5.6. These results suggest that HlCPL-A may play important roles in the digestion of host hemoglobin in ticks.
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ABSTRACT: Ticks, as obligate hematophagous ectoparasites, impact greatly on animal and human health because they transmit various pathogens worldwide. Over the last decade, several cystatins from different hard and soft ticks were identified and biochemically analyzed for their role in the physiology and blood feeding lifestyle of ticks. All these cystatins are potent inhibitors of papain-like cysteine proteases, but not of legumain. Tick cystatins were either detected in the salivary glands and/or the midgut, key tick organs responsible for blood digestion and the expression of pharmacologically potent salivary proteins for blood feeding. For example, the transcription of two cystatins named HlSC-1 and Sialostatin L2 was highly upregulated in these tick tissues during feeding. Vaccinating hosts against Sialostatin L2 and Om-cystatin 2 as well as silencing of a cystatin gene from Amblyomma americanum significantly inhibited the feeding ability of ticks. Additionally, Om-cystatin 2 and Sialostatin L possessed strong host immunosuppressive properties by inhibiting dendritic cell maturation due to their interaction with cathepsin S. These two cystatins, together with Sialostatin L2 are the first tick cystatins with resolved three-dimensional structure. Sialostatin L, furthermore, showed preventive properties against autoimmune diseases. In the case of the cystatin Hlcyst-2, experimental evidence showed its role in tick innate immunity, since increased Hlcyst-2 transcript levels were detected in Babesia gibsoni-infected larval ticks and the protein inhibited Babesia growth. Other cystatins, such as Hlcyst-1 or Om-cystatin 2 are assumed to be involved in regulating blood digestion. Only for Bmcystatin was a role in tick embryogenesis suggested. Finally, all the biochemically analyzed tick cystatins are powerful protease inhibitors, and some may be novel antigens for developing anti-tick vaccines and drugs of medical importance due to their stringent target specificity.Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases 04/2012; 3(3):117-27. DOI:10.1016/j.ttbdis.2012.03.004 · 2.88 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Intracellular proteolysis of ingested blood proteins is a crucial physiological process in ticks. In our model tick, Ixodes ricinus, cathepsin L (IrCL1) is part of a gut-associated multi-peptidase complex; its endopeptidase activity is important in the initial phase of haemoglobinolysis. We present the functional and biochemical characterisation of this enzyme. We show, by RNA interference (RNAi), that cathepsin L-like activity that peaks during the slow feeding period of females is associated with IrCL1. Recombinant IrCL1 was expressed in bacteria and yeast. Activity profiling with both peptidyl and physiological protein substrates (haemoglobin and albumin) revealed that IrCL1 is an acidic peptidase with a very low optimum pH (3-4) being unstable above pH 5. This suggests an endo/lysosomal localisation that was confirmed by indirect fluorescence microscopy that immunolocalised IrCL1 inside the vesicles of digestive gut cells. Cleavage specificity determined by a positional scanning synthetic combinatorial library and inhibition profile indicated that IrCL1 has the ligand-binding characteristics of the cathepsin L subfamily of cysteine peptidases. A non-redundant proteolytic function was demonstrated when IrCL1-silenced ticks had a decreased ability to feed compared with controls. The data suggest that IrCL1 may be a promising target against ticks and tick-borne pathogens.International journal for parasitology 07/2011; 41(12):1253-62. DOI:10.1016/j.ijpara.2011.06.006 · 3.40 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Parasitic encoded proteases are essential to regulating interactions between parasites and their hosts and thus they represent attractive anti-parasitic druggable and/or vaccine target. We have utilized annotations of Ixodes scapularis proteases in gene bank and version 9.3 MEROPS database to compile an index of at least 233 putatively active and 150 putatively inactive protease enzymes that are encoded by the I. scapularis genome. The 233 putatively active protease homologs hereafter referred to as the degradome (the full repertoire of proteases encoded by the I. scapularis genome) represent ~1.14% of the 20485 putative I. scapularis protein content. Consistent with observations in other animals, the content of the I. scapularis degradome is ~6.0% (14/233) aspartic, ~19% (44/233) cysteine, ~40% (93/233) metallo, ~28.3% (66/233) serine and ~6.4% (15/233) threonine proteases. When scanned against other tick sequences, ~11% (25/233) of I. scapularis putatively active proteases are conserved in other tick species with ≥ 60% amino acid identity levels. The I. scapularis genome does not apparently encode for putatively inactive aspartic proteases. Of the 150 putative inactive protease homologs none are from the aspartic protease class, ~8% (12/150) are cysteine, ~58.7% (88/150) metallo, 30% (45/150) serine and ~3.3% (5/150) are threonine proteases. The I. scapularis tick genome appears to have evolutionarily lost proteolytic activity of at least 6 protease families, C56 and C64 (cysteine), M20 and M23 (metallo), S24 and S28 (serine) as revealed by a lack of the putatively active proteases in these families. The overall protease content is comparable to other organisms. However, the paucity of the S1 chymotrypsin/trypsin-like serine protease family in the I. scapularis genome where it is ~12.7% (28/233) of the degradome as opposed to ~22-48% content in other blood feeding arthropods, Pediculus humanus humanus, Anopheles gambiae, Aedes Aegypti and Culex pipiens quinquefasciatus is notable. The data is presented as a one-stop index of proteases encoded by the I. scapularis genome.Gene 04/2011; 482(1-2):78-93. DOI:10.1016/j.gene.2011.04.008 · 2.08 Impact Factor