Cutting back on pro-protein convertases: the latest approaches to pharmacological inhibition.
ABSTRACT The secretory pathway in cells possesses an elaborate set of endoproteolytic enzymes that carry out a crucial step in protein precursor maturation. This step is proteolytic activation by cleavage at specific pairs of basic residues. These enzymes, named pro-protein convertases (PCs), are responsible for generating bioactive peptides and activating several enzymes and growth factors that are implicated in many important physiological events. PCs have roles in several pathologies including viral infections and cancers and, thus, are promising targets for therapeutic applications. Recent structural and homology-modeling studies demonstrate more similarity than expected at the catalytic site of the seven PCs, which makes the development of selective drugs to target individual PCs frustrating. Based on this information, we review the latest strategies to inhibit PCs, which might lead to the development of specific compounds.
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ABSTRACT: More than a decade has passed since the release of the Drosophila genome and the first predictions of fruit fly regulatory peptides (neuropeptides and peptide hormones). Since then, mass spectrometry-based methods have fuelled the chemical characterisation of regulatory peptides, from 7 Drosophila regulatory peptides in the pre-genomic area to around 60 today. We here review the development of fruit fly peptidomics, present a comprehensive list of the regulatory peptides that have been chemically characterised until today. We also summarise the knowledge on peptide processing in Drosophila, which has strongly profited from a combination of MS-based techniques and the genetic tools available for the fruit fly. This combination has a very high potential to study the functional biology of peptide signalling on all levels, especially with the ongoing developments in quantitative MS in Drosophila.06/2014; 3. DOI:10.1016/j.euprot.2014.02.007
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ABSTRACT: Proprotein convertases are a family of kexin-like serine proteases that process proteins at single and multiple basic residues. Among the predicted and identified PC substrates, an increasing number of proteins having functions in cancer progression indicate that PCs may be potential targets for antineoplastic drugs. In support of this notion, we identified PACE4 as a vital PC involved in prostate cancer proliferation and progression, contrasting with the other co-expressed PCs. The aim of the present study was to test the importance of PCs in ovarian cancer cell proliferation and tumor progression. Based on tissue-expression profiles, furin, PACE4, PC5/6 and PC7 all displayed increased expression in primary tumor, ascites cells and metastases. These PCs were also expressed in variable levels in three model ovarian cell lines tested, namely SKOV3, CAOV3 and OVCAR3 cells. Since SKOV3 cells closely represented the PC expression profile of ovarian cancer cells, we chose them to test the effects of PC silencing using stable gene-silencing shRNA strategy to generate knockdown SKOV3 cells for each expressed PC. In vitro and in vivo assays confirmed the role of PACE4 in the sustainment of SKOV3 cell proliferation, which was not observed with the other three PCs. We also tested PACE4 peptide inhibitors on all three cell lines and observed consequent reduced cell proliferation which was correlated with PACE4 expression. Overall, these data support a role of PACE4 in promoting cell proliferation in ovarian cancer and provides further evidence for PACE4 as a potential therapeutic target.Translational oncology 05/2014; 7(3). DOI:10.1016/j.tranon.2014.04.008 · 3.40 Impact Factor