Michael Mares

Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Praha, Hlavni mesto Praha, Czech Republic

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Publications (19)81.88 Total impact

  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The quantum mechanics (QM)-based scoring function that we previously developed for the description of noncovalent binding in protein-ligand complexes has been modified and extended to treat covalent binding of inhibitory ligands. The enhancements are: (i) the description of the covalent-bond breakage/formation using hybrid QM/semiempirical QM (QM/SQM) restrained optimizations and (ii) the addition of the new ΔGcov' term to the noncovalent score, describing the "free" energy difference between the covalent and noncovalent complexes. This enhanced QM-based scoring function is applied to a series of 20 vinyl sulfone-based inhibitory compounds inactivating the cysteine peptidase cathepsin B1 of the Schistosoma mansoni parasite (SmCB1). The available X-ray structure of the SmCB1 in complex with a potent vinyl sulfone inhibitor K11017 is used as a template to build the other covalently bound complexes and to model the derived noncovalent complexes. We present the correlation of the covalent score and its constituents with the experimental binding data. Four outliers are identified. They contain bulky R1' substituents structurally divergent from the template, which might induce larger protein rearrangements than could be accurately modeled. In summary, we propose a new computational approach and an optimal protocol for the rapid evaluation and prospective design of covalent inhibitors with a conserved binding mode.
    The Journal of Physical Chemistry B 11/2013; · 3.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To identify the gut-associated tick aspartic hemoglobinase, this work focuses on the functional diversity of multiple Ixodes ricinus cathepsin D forms (IrCDs). Out of three encoding genes representing Ixodes scapularis genome paralogs, IrCD1 is the most distinct enzyme with a shortened propeptide region and a unique pattern of predicted post-translational modifications. IrCD1 gene transcription is induced by tick feeding and is restricted to the gut tissue. The hemoglobinolytic role of IrCD1 was further supported by immunolocalization of IrCD1 in the vesicles of tick gut cells. Properties of recombinantly expressed rIrCD1 are consistent with the endo-lysosomal environment because the zymogen is autoactivated and remains optimally active in acidic conditions. Hemoglobin cleavage pattern of rIrCD1 is identical to that produced by the native enzyme. The preference for hydrophobic residues at the P1 and P1' position was confirmed by screening a novel synthetic tetradecapeptidyl substrate library. Outside the S1-S1' regions, rIrCD1 tolerates most amino acids but displays a preference for tyrosine at P3 and alanine at P2'. Further analysis of the cleavage site location within the peptide substrate indicated that IrCD1 is a true endopeptidase. The role in hemoglobinolysis was verified with RNAi knockdown of IrCD1 that decreased gut extract cathepsin D activity by >90%. IrCD1 was newly characterized as a unique hemoglobinolytic cathepsin D contributing to the complex intestinal proteolytic network of mainly cysteine peptidases in ticks.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 04/2012; 287(25):21152-63. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Schistosomiasis caused by a parasitic blood fluke of the genus Schistosoma afflicts over 200 million people worldwide. Schistosoma mansoni cathepsin B1 (SmCB1) is a gut-associated peptidase that digests host blood proteins as a source of nutrients. It is under investigation as a drug target. To further this goal, we report three crystal structures of SmCB1 complexed with peptidomimetic inhibitors as follows: the epoxide CA074 at 1.3 Å resolution and the vinyl sulfones K11017 and K11777 at 1.8 and 2.5 Å resolutions, respectively. Interactions of the inhibitors with the subsites of the active-site cleft were evaluated by quantum chemical calculations. These data and inhibition profiling with a panel of vinyl sulfone derivatives identify key binding interactions and provide insight into the specificity of SmCB1 inhibition. Furthermore, hydrolysis profiling of SmCB1 using synthetic peptides and the natural substrate hemoglobin revealed that carboxydipeptidase activity predominates over endopeptidolysis, thereby demonstrating the contribution of the occluding loop that restricts access to the active-site cleft. Critically, the severity of phenotypes induced in the parasite by vinyl sulfone inhibitors correlated with enzyme inhibition, providing support that SmCB1 is a valuable drug target. The present structure and inhibitor interaction data provide a footing for the rational design of anti-schistosomal inhibitors.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 08/2011; 286(41):35770-81. · 4.65 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. · 3.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Blood flukes of the genus Schistosoma cause the disease schistosomiasis that infects over 200 million people worldwide. Treatment relies on just one drug, and new therapies are needed should drug resistance emerge. Schistosoma mansoni cathepsin B1 (SmCB1) is a gut-associated protease that digests host blood proteins as source of nutrients. It is under evaluation as a therapeutic target. Enzymatic activity of the SmCB1 zymogen is prevented by the pro-peptide that sterically blocks the active site until activation of the zymogen to the mature enzyme. We investigated the structure-inhibition relationships of how the SmCB1 pro-peptide interacts with the enzyme core using a SmCB1 zymogen model and pro-peptide-derived synthetic fragments. Two regions were identified within the pro-peptide that govern its inhibitory interaction with the enzyme core: an "active site region" and a unique "heparin-binding region" that requires heparin. The latter region is apparently only found in the pro-peptides of cathepsins B associated with the gut of trematode parasites. Finally, using the active site region as a template and a docking model of SmCB1, we designed a series of inhibitors mimicking the pro-peptide structure, the best of which yielded low micromolar inhibition constants. Overall, we identify a novel glycosaminoglycan-mediated mechanism of inhibition by the pro-peptide that potentially regulates zymogen activation and describe a promising design strategy to develop antischistosomal drugs.
    ACS Chemical Biology 03/2011; 6(6):609-17. · 5.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Platelet aggregation and acute inflammation are key processes in vertebrate defense to a skin injury. Recent studies uncovered the mediation of 2 serine proteases, cathepsin G and chymase, in both mechanisms. Working with a mouse model of acute inflammation, we revealed that an exogenous salivary protein of Ixodes ricinus, the vector of Lyme disease pathogens in Europe, extensively inhibits edema formation and influx of neutrophils in the inflamed tissue. We named this tick salivary gland secreted effector as I ricinus serpin-2 (IRS-2), and we show that it primarily inhibits cathepsin G and chymase, while in higher molar excess, it affects thrombin activity as well. The inhibitory specificity was explained using the crystal structure, determined at a resolution of 1.8 Å. Moreover, we disclosed the ability of IRS-2 to inhibit cathepsin G-induced and thrombin-induced platelet aggregation. For the first time, an ectoparasite protein is shown to exhibit such pharmacological effects and target specificity. The stringent specificity and biological activities of IRS-2 combined with the knowledge of its structure can be the basis for the development of future pharmaceutical applications.
    Blood 10/2010; 117(2):736-44. · 9.06 Impact Factor
  • ChemBioChem 07/2010; 11(11):1538-41. · 3.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The saliva of blood-feeding parasites is a rich source of peptidase inhibitors that help to overcome the host's defence during host-parasite interactions. Using proteomic analysis, the cystatin OmC2 was demonstrated in the saliva of the soft tick Ornithodoros moubata, an important disease vector transmitting African swine fever virus and the spirochaete Borrelia duttoni. A structural, biochemical and biological characterization of this peptidase inhibitor was undertaken in the present study. Recombinant OmC2 was screened against a panel of physiologically relevant peptidases and was found to be an effective broad-specificity inhibitor of cysteine cathepsins, including endopeptidases (cathepsins L and S) and exopeptidases (cathepsins B, C and H). The crystal structure of OmC2 was determined at a resolution of 2.45 A (1 A=0.1 nm) and was used to describe the structure-inhibitory activity relationship. The biological impact of OmC2 was demonstrated both in vitro and in vivo. OmC2 affected the function of antigen-presenting mouse dendritic cells by reducing the production of the pro-inflammatory cytokines tumour necrosis factor alpha and interleukin-12, and proliferation of antigen-specific CD4+ T-cells. This suggests that OmC2 may suppress the host's adaptive immune response. Immunization of mice with OmC2 significantly suppressed the survival of O. moubata in infestation experiments. We conclude that OmC2 is a promising target for the development of a novel anti-tick vaccine to control O. moubata populations and combat the spread of associated diseases.
    Biochemical Journal 07/2010; 429(1):103-12. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hemoglobin digestion is an essential process for blood-feeding parasites. Using chemical tools, we deconvoluted the intracellular hemoglobinolytic cascade in the tick Ixodes ricinus, a vector of Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis. In tick gut tissue, a network of peptidases was demonstrated through imaging with specific activity-based probes and activity profiling with peptidic substrates and inhibitors. This peptidase network is induced upon blood feeding and degrades hemoglobin at acidic pH. Selective inhibitors were applied to dissect the roles of the individual peptidases and to determine the peptidase-specific cleavage map of the hemoglobin molecule. The degradation pathway is initiated by endopeptidases of aspartic and cysteine class (cathepsin D supported by cathepsin L and legumain) and is continued by cysteine amino- and carboxy-dipeptidases (cathepsins C and B). The identified enzymes are potential targets to developing novel anti-tick vaccines.
    Chemistry & biology 10/2009; 16(10):1053-63. · 6.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The digestive tract of lepidopteran insects is extremely alkaline. In the present work, molecular adaptation of amylolytic enzymes to this environment was investigated in the flour moth Ephestia kuehniella, an important stored-product pest. Three digestive alpha-amylases [Ephestia kuehniella alpha-amylase isoenzymes 1-3 (EkAmy1-3)] with an alkaline pH optimum were purified from larvae and biochemically characterized. These isoenzymes differ significantly in their sensitivity to alpha-amylase inhibitors of plant origin that are directed against herbivores as antifeedants. Such functional variability renders the amylolytic system less vulnerable to suppression by plant defensive molecules. Moreover, we found that expression of alpha-amylases is upregulated in larvae feeding on a diet enriched with an alpha-amylase inhibitor. The alpha-amylases are secreted into the larval midgut by an exocytotic mechanism, as revealed by immunogold microscopy. The cDNA sequence of EkAmy3 was determined, and a homology model of EkAmy3 was built in order to analyze the structural features responsible for adaptation to alkaline pH. First, the overall fold was found to be stabilized by remodeling of ion pairs. Second, molecular simulations supported by activity measurements showed that EkAmy3 does not bind a Cl(-), owing to an Arg-to-Gln mutation in a conserved binding site. The Cl(-)-binding residues are in contact with the catalytic residues, and this change might help to fine-tune the catalytic pK(a) values to an alkaline pH optimum. We conclude that lepidopteran alpha-amylases are evolutionarily adapted in terms of structure and expression dynamics for effective functioning in the digestive system.
    FEBS Journal 06/2009; 276(13):3531-46. · 4.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ticks are vectors for a variety of viral, bacterial and parasitic diseases in human and domestic animals. To survive and reproduce ticks feed on host blood, yet our understanding of the intestinal proteolytic machinery used to derive absorbable nutrients from the blood meal is poor. Intestinal digestive processes are limiting factors for pathogen transmission since the tick gut presents the primary site of infection. Moreover, digestive enzymes may find practical application as anti-tick vaccine targets. Using the hard tick, Ixodes ricinus, we performed a functional activity scan of the peptidase complement in gut tissue extracts that demonstrated the presence of five types of peptidases of the cysteine and aspartic classes. We followed up with genetic screens of gut-derived cDNA to identify and clone genes encoding the cysteine peptidases cathepsins B, L and C, an asparaginyl endopeptidase (legumain), and the aspartic peptidase, cathepsin D. By RT-PCR, expression of asparaginyl endopeptidase and cathepsins B and D was restricted to gut tissue and to those developmental stages feeding on blood. Overall, our results demonstrate the presence of a network of cysteine and aspartic peptidases that conceivably operates to digest host blood proteins in a concerted manner. Significantly, the peptidase components of this digestive network are orthologous to those described in other parasites, including nematodes and flatworms. Accordingly, the present data and those available for other tick species support the notion of an evolutionary conservation of a cysteine/aspartic peptidase system for digestion that includes ticks, but differs from that of insects relying on serine peptidases.
    Parasites & Vectors 02/2008; 1(1):7. · 3.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Two genes coding for cysteine peptidase inhibitors of the cystatin family (Om-cystatin 1 and 2) were isolated from a gut-specific cDNA library of the soft tick Ornithodoros moubata. Both cystatins were clearly down-regulated after a blood meal. Om-cystatin 1 is mainly expressed in the tick gut, while Om-cystatin 2 mRNA was also found in other tick tissues. Authentic Om-cystatin 2 was significantly more abundant than Om-cystatin 1 in the gut contents of fasting ticks and was associated with hemosome-derived residual bodies accumulated in the gut lumen. Om-cystatin 2 was also expressed by type 2 secretory cells in the salivary glands of unfed ticks. The inhibitory specificity of recombinant Om-cystatins 1 and 2 was tested with mammalian cysteine peptidases, as well as endogenous cysteine peptidases present in the tick gut. Both cystatins efficiently inhibited papain-like peptidases, including cathepsin B and H, but differed significantly in their affinity towards cathepsin C and failed to block asparaginyl endopeptidase. Our results suggest that the secreted cystatin isoinhibitors are involved in the regulation of multiple proteolytic targets in the tick digestive system and tick-host interaction.
    Biological Chemistry 01/2007; 387(12):1635-44. · 2.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Propeptide blocks the active site in the inactive zymogen of cathepsin D and is cleaved off during zymogen activation. We have designed a set of peptidic fragments derived from the propeptide structure and evaluated their inhibitory potency against mature cathepsin D using a kinetic assay. Our mapping of the cathepsin D propeptide indicated two domains in the propeptide involved in the inhibitory interaction with the enzyme core: the active site "anchor" domain and the N-terminus of the propeptide. The latter plays a dominant role in propeptide inhibition (nanomolar Ki), and its high-affinity binding was corroborated by fluorescence polarization measurements. In addition to the inhibitory domains of propeptide, a fragment derived from the N-terminus of mature cathepsin D displayed inhibition. This finding supports its proposed regulatory function. The interaction mechanisms of the identified inhibitory domains were characterized by determining their modes of inhibition as well as by spatial modeling of the propeptide in the zymogen molecule. The inhibitory interaction of the N-terminal propeptide domain was abolished in the presence of sulfated polysaccharides, which interact with basic propeptide residues. The inhibitory potency of the active site anchor domain was affected by the Ala38pVal substitution, a propeptide polymorphism reported to be associated with the pathology of Alzheimer's disease. We infer that propeptide is a sensitive tethered ligand that allows for complex modulation of cathepsin D zymogen activation.
    Biochemistry 01/2007; 45(51):15474-82. · 3.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report a low molecular weight inhibitor of alpha-amylases based on a linear peptidic scaffold designed de novo through the use of combinatorial chemistry. The inhibitory motif denoted PAMI (peptide amylase inhibitor) was selected by using L-peptide libraries and was fine-tuned by the introduction of unnatural modifications. PAMI specifically inhibits glycoside hydrolases of family 13. Its interaction with porcine pancreatic alpha-amylase was characterized by inhibition kinetics, fluorescence competition assays with natural alpha-amylase inhibitors, and isothermal titration calorimetry. We demonstrate that the critical amino acid residues in PAMI are shared with those in the macromolecular proteinaceous inhibitors that, however, bind to alpha-amylases through a spatially scattered set of intermolecular contacts. Thus, natural molecular evolution as well as combinatorial evolution selected the same alpha-amylase binding determinants for completely different spatial frameworks.
    Chemistry & Biology 01/2006; 12(12):1349-57. · 6.16 Impact Factor
  • Journal of Peptide Science 01/2006; 12:155-155. · 2.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Trypsin proteinase inhibitors (TPIs) of Nicotiana attenuata are major antiherbivore defenses that increase dramatically in leaves after attack or methyl jasmonate (MeJA) elicitation. To understand the elicitation process, we characterized the proteolytic fragmentation and release of TPIs from a multidomain precursor by proteases in MeJA-elicited and unelicited plants. A set of approximately 6-kD TPI peptides was purified from leaves, and their posttranslational modifications were characterized. In MeJA-elicited plants, the diversity of TPI structures was greater than the precursor gene predicted. This elicited structural heterogeneity resulted from differential fragmentation of the linker peptide (LP) that separates the seven-domain TPI functional domains. Using an in vitro fluorescence resonance energy transfer assay and synthetic substrates derived from the LP sequence, we characterized proteases involved in both the processing of the TPI precursor and its vacuolar targeting sequence. Although both a vacuolar processing enzyme and a subtilisin-like protease were found to participate in a two-step processing of LP, only the activity of the subtilisin-like protease was significantly increased by MeJA elicitation. We propose that MeJA elicitation increases TPI precursor production and saturates the proteolytic machinery, changing the processing pattern of TPIs. To test this hypothesis, we elicited a TPI-deficient N. attenuata genotype that had been transformed with a functional NaTPI gene under control of a constitutive promoter and characterized the resulting TPIs. We found no alterations in the processing pattern predicted from the sequence: a result consistent with the saturation hypothesis.
    Plant physiology 10/2005; 139(1):375-88. · 6.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Free propeptides are known to function as inhibitors of the parental mature cysteine cathepsins. This general rule, however, does not apply to the aminopeptidase cathepsin H. Screening of propeptide fragments for their inhibitory potency revealed no significant effect on the native mature cathepsin H. On the other hand, inhibitory interaction was established with recombinant cathepsin H that displays endopeptidase activity due to a lack of the mini-chain. This finding suggests that the propeptide-binding region is structurally rearranged during maturation processing and mini-chain formation, which impairs the effective recognition of mature cathepsin H by its own propeptide.
    Biological Chemistry 10/2005; 386(9):941-7. · 2.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The stored-product mites are the most abundant and frequent group of pests living on the stored food products in Europe. They endanger public health since they produce allergens and transmit mycotoxin-producing fungi. Novel acaricidal compounds with inhibitory effects on the digestive enzymes of arthropods are a safe alternative to the traditional neurotoxic pesticides used for control of the stored-product pests. In this work, we explored the properties of acarbose, the low molecular weight inhibitor of alpha-amylases (AI), as a novel acaricide candidate for protection of the stored products from infestation by Acarus siro (Acari: Acaridae). In vitro analysis revealed that AI blocked efficiently the enzymatic activity of digestive amylases of A. siro, and decreased the physiological capacity of mite's gut in utilizing a starch component of grain flour. In vivo experiments showed that AI suppressed the population growth of A. siro. The mites were kept for three weeks on experimental diet enriched by AI in concentration range of 0.005 to 0.25%. Population growth of A. siro was negatively correlated with the content of AI in the treated diet with a half-population dose of 0.125%. The suppressive effect of AIs on stored-product mites is discussed in the context of their potential application in GMO crops.
    Experimental and Applied Acarology 02/2005; 35(4):281-91. · 1.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The mature bovine cathepsin C (CC) molecule is composed of four identical monomers, each proteolytically processed into three chains. Five intrachain disulfides and three nonpaired cysteine residues per monomer were identified. Beside catalytic Cys234 in the active site, free-thiol Cys331 and Cys424 were characterized. Cys424 can be classified as inaccessible buried residue. Selective modification of Cys331 results in dissociation of native CC tetramer into dimers. The 3D homology-based model of the CC catalytic core suggests that Cys331 becomes exposed as the activation peptide is removed during procathepsin C activation. The model further shows that exposed Cys331 is surrounded by a surface hydrophobic cluster, unique to CC, forming a dimer-dimer interaction interface. Substrate/inhibitor recognition of the active site in the CC dimer differs significantly from that in the native tetramer. Taken together, a mechanism is proposed that assumes that the CC tetramer formation results in a site-specific occlusion of endopeptidase-like active site cleft of each CC monomeric unit. Thus, tetramerization provides for the structural basis of the dipeptidyl peptidase activity of CC through a substrate access-limiting mechanism different from those found in homologous monomeric exopeptidases cathepsin H and B. In conclusion, the mechanism of tetramer formation as well as specific posttranslational processing segregates CC in the family of papain proteases.
    Protein Science 05/2002; 11(4):933-43. · 2.74 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

201 Citations
81.88 Total Impact Points


  • 2002–2012
    • Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
      • • Biologické centrum
      • • Ústav organické chemie a biochemie
      Praha, Hlavni mesto Praha, Czech Republic
  • 2009
    • Ústav Organické Chemie a Biochemie AV ČR, v.v.i.
      Praha, Praha, Czech Republic
  • 2007
    • University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice
      • Faculty of Science
      Budejovice, Jihočeský, Czech Republic
  • 2005
    • Crop Research Institute
      Praha, Praha, Czech Republic