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The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde's Open Access research outputs. Strathprints provides access to thousands of Open Access research papers by University of Strathclyde researchers, including by researchers from the Department of Computer & Information Sciences involved in mathematically structured programming, similarity and metric search, computer security, software systems, combinatronics and digital health.

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A heparin binding motif on the pro-domain of human procathepsin L mediates zymogen destabilization and activation

Fairhead, Michael and Kelly, S.M. and van der Walle, Christopher F. (2008) A heparin binding motif on the pro-domain of human procathepsin L mediates zymogen destabilization and activation. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 366 (3). pp. 862-867. ISSN 1090-2104

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The molecular mechanism by which heparin modulates the processing of procathepsin L in the extracellular environment is proposed. We show that heparin reduces the stability of the pro form of cathepsin L at pH 5 by binding to a putative heparin binding motif (BBXB) in the pro-domain. Mutations to this motif on procathepsin L reduce heparin binding affinity and heparin-induced destabilization; in contrast, heparin only slightly destabilizes the mature cathepsin L domain. Gel analysis further shows that heparin makes procathepsin L a much better substrate for cathepsin L. Thus, heparin enhances the rate of zymogen activation by destabilization upon binding to the BBXB motif. Determining the mechanism by which procathepsin L is activated in the extracellular matrix is important to the understanding of the role that cathepsin L plays in tumour invasion.