Suzuki, Y., et al. Isolation and characterization of a tandem-repeated cysteine protease from the symbiotic dinoflagellate Symbiodinium sp. KB8, PloS one. Volume 14, Number 1, e0211534
A cysteine protease belonging to peptidase C1A superfamily from the eukaryotic, symbiotic dinoflagellate, Symbiodinium sp. strain KB8, was characterized. The protease was purified to near homogeneity (566-fold) by (NH4)2SO4 fractionation, ultrafiltration, and column chromatography using a fluorescent peptide, butyloxycarbonyl-Val-Leu-Lys-4-methylcoumaryl-7-amide (Boc-VLK-MCA), as a substrate for assay purposes. The enzyme was termed VLKP (VLK protease), and its activity was strongly inhibited by cysteine protease inhibitors and activated by reducing agents. Based on the results for the amino acid sequence determined by liquid chromatography–coupled tandem mass spectrometry, a cDNA encoding VLKP was synthesized. VLKP was classified into the peptidase C1A superfamily of cysteine proteases (C1AP). The predicted amino acid sequence of VLKP indicated a tandem array of highly conserved precursors of C1AP with a molecular mass of approximately 71 kDa. The results of gel-filtration chromatography and SDS-PAGE suggested that VLKP exists as a monomer of 31–32 kDa, indicating that the tandem array is likely divided into two mass-equivalent halves that undergo equivalent posttranslational modifications. The VLKP precursor contains an inhibitor prodomain that might become activated after acidic autoprocessing at approximately pH 4. Both purified and recombinant VLKPs had a similar substrate specificity and kinetic parameters for common C1AP substrates. Most C1APs reside in acidic organelles such as the vacuole and lysosomes, and indeed VLKP was most active at pH 4.5. Since VLKP exhibited maximum activity during the late logarithmic growth phase, these attributes suggest that, VLKP is involved in the metabolism of proteins in acidic organelles.