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Dev Comp Immunol January 1, 2022; 128 104324.
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Extended cleavage specificity of a Chinese alligator granzyme B homologue, a strict Glu-ase in contrast to the mammalian Asp-ases.

Ryu J , Fu Z , Akula S , Olsson AK , Hellman L .

Granzyme B (GzmB) is primarily expressed by mammalian cytotoxic T cells and serves as one of the key components in the defense against viral infection by the induction of apoptosis in virus infected cells. By direct cell to cell contact and delivery into target cells by perforin, cytotoxic T cells activate apoptosis through the action of GzmB by both caspase-dependent and -independent pathways. In search for early ancestors of GzmB we have in the current study identified and characterized a GzmB homologue from a reptile, the Chinese alligator. This enzyme is encoded from the same locus as the mammalian counterparts, the chymase locus. Phage display analysis of the cleavage specificity of the recombinant alligator enzyme (named MCP1A-like) shows that it is a relatively strict Glu-ase, with strong preference for glutamic acid in the P1 position of a substrate. The majority of mammalian GzmB:s are, in marked contrast to the alligator enzyme, relatively strict Asp-ases. The alligator enzyme also showed strong preference for Ala, Pro and Gly in the P2 position and Val in the P3 position indicating that it has a narrow specificity, similar to the mammalian counterparts. Analysis of the three amino acids forming the substrate binding pocket (S1 pocket) in three amphibian homologues to MCP1A-like, from the frogs Xenopus laevis and Xenopus tropicalis, shows that these amphibian enzymes have similar substrate binding pocket as their mammalian counterparts. This finding, together with the apparent lack of GzmB homologs in fish, indicates that the ancestor of GzmB did appear with the amphibians at the base of tetrapod evolution. This study is a first step in a larger effort to understand the evolutionary processes involved in shaping anti-viral immunity in non-mammalian vertebrates.

PubMed ID: 34826501
Article link: Dev Comp Immunol

Species referenced: Xenopus tropicalis Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: casp3 casp6 gzma

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