Human and mouse granzyme M display divergent and species-specific substrate specificities

Department of Pathology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Biochemical Journal (Impact Factor: 4.4). 05/2011; 437(3):431-42. DOI: 10.1042/BJ20110210
Source: PubMed


Cytotoxic lymphocyte protease GrM (granzyme M) is a potent inducer of tumour cell death and a key regulator of inflammation. Although hGrM (human GrM) and mGrM (mouse GrM) display extensive sequence homology, the substrate specificity of mGrM remains unknown. In the present study, we show that hGrM and mGrM have diverged during evolution. Positional scanning libraries of tetrapeptide substrates revealed that mGrM is preferred to cleave after a methionine residue, whereas hGrM clearly favours a leucine residue at the P1 position. The kinetic optimal non-prime subsites of both granzymes were also distinct. Gel-based and complementary positional proteomics showed that hGrM and mGrM have a partially overlapping set of natural substrates and a diverged prime and non-prime consensus cleavage motif with leucine and methionine residues being major P1 determinants. Consistent with positional scanning libraries of tetrapeptide substrates, P1 methionine was more frequently used by mGrM as compared with hGrM. Both hGrM and mGrM cleaved α-tubulin with similar kinetics. Strikingly, neither hGrM nor mGrM hydrolysed mouse NPM (nucleophosmin), whereas human NPM was hydrolysed efficiently by GrM from both species. Replacement of the putative P1'-P2' residues in mouse NPM with the corresponding residues of human NPM restored cleavage of mouse NPM by both granzymes. This further demonstrates the importance of prime sites as structural determinants for GrM substrate specificity. GrM from both species efficiently triggered apoptosis in human but not in mouse tumour cells. These results indicate that hGrM and mGrM not only exhibit divergent specificities but also trigger species-specific functions.

Download full-text


Available from: Kim Plasman, Nov 17, 2014
24 Reads
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Granzymes (Grs) were discovered just over a quarter century ago. They are produced by cytotoxic T cells and natural killer cells and are released upon interaction with target cells. Intensive biochemical, genetic, and biological studies have been performed in order to study their roles in immunity and inflammation. This review summarizes research on the family of Grs.
    Cell death and differentiation 11/2011; 19(1):28-35. DOI:10.1038/cdd.2011.153 · 8.18 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Granule exocytosis by cytotoxic lymphocytes is the key mechanism to eliminate virus-infected cells and tumor cells. These lytic granules contain the pore-forming protein perforin and a set of five serine proteases called granzymes. All human granzymes display distinct substrate specificities and induce cell death by cleaving critical intracellular death substrates. In the present study, we show that all human granzymes directly cleaved the DNA/RNA-binding protein heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein K (hnRNP K), designating hnRNP K as the first known pan-granzyme substrate. Cleavage of hnRNP K was more efficient in the presence of RNA and occurred in two apparent proteolysis-sensitive amino acid regions, thereby dissecting the functional DNA/RNA-binding hnRNP K domains. HnRNP K was cleaved under physiological conditions when purified granzymes were delivered into living tumor cells and during lymphokine-activated killer cell-mediated attack. HnRNP K is essential for tumor cell viability, since knockdown of hnRNP K resulted in spontaneous tumor cell apoptosis with caspase activation and reactive oxygen species production. This apoptosis was more pronounced at low tumor cell density where hnRNP K knockdown also triggered a caspase-independent apoptotic pathway. This suggests that hnRNP K promotes tumor cell survival in the absence of cell-cell contact. Silencing of hnRNP K protein expression rendered tumor cells more susceptible to cellular cytotoxicity. We conclude that hnRNP K is indispensable for tumor cell viability and our data suggest that targeting of hnRNP K by granzymes contributes to or reinforces the cell death mechanisms by which cytotoxic lymphocytes eliminate tumor cells.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 05/2012; 287(27):22854-64. DOI:10.1074/jbc.M112.365692 · 4.57 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is the most frequent viral cause of congenital defects and HCMV infection in immunocompromised patients may trigger devastating disease. Cytotoxic lymphocytes control HCMV by releasing granzymes towards virus-infected cells. In mice, granzyme M (GrM) has a physiological role in controlling murine CMV infection. However, the underlying mechanism remains poorly understood. In this study, we showed that human GrM was expressed by HCMV-specific CD8(+) T cells both in latently infected healthy individuals and in transplant patients during primary HCMV infection. We identified host cell heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein K (hnRNP K) as a physiological GrM substrate. GrM most efficiently cleaved hnRNP K in the presence of RNA at multiple sites, thereby likely destroying hnRNP K function. Host cell hnRNP K was essential for HCMV replication not only by promoting viability of HCMV-infected cells but predominantly by regulating viral immediate-early 2 (IE2) protein levels. Furthermore, hnRNP K interacted with IE2 mRNA. Finally, GrM decreased IE2 protein expression in HCMV-infected cells. Our data suggest that targeting of hnRNP K by GrM contributes to the mechanism by which cytotoxic lymphocytes inhibit HCMV replication. This is the first evidence that cytotoxic lymphocytes target host cell proteins to control HCMV infections.Cell Death and Differentiation advance online publication, 26 October 2012; doi:10.1038/cdd.2012.132.
    Cell death and differentiation 10/2012; 20(3). DOI:10.1038/cdd.2012.132 · 8.18 Impact Factor
Show more