Characterization of a novel human serine protease that has extensive homology to bacterial heat shock endoprotease HtrA and is regulated by kidney ischemia.
We report the isolation and characterization of a cDNA encoding the novel mammalian serine protease Omi. Omi protein consists of 458 amino acids and has homology to bacterial HtrA endoprotease, which acts as a chaperone at low temperatures and as a proteolytic enzyme that removes denatured or damaged substrates at elevated temperatures. The carboxyl terminus of Omi has extensive homology to a mammalian protein called L56 (human HtrA), but unlike L56, which is secreted, Omi is localized in the endoplasmic reticulum. Omi has several novel putative protein-protein interaction motifs, as well as a PDZ domain and a Src homology 3-binding domain. Omi mRNA is expressed ubiquitously, and the gene is localized on human chromosome 2p12. Omi interacts with Mxi2, an alternatively spliced form of the p38 stress-activated kinase. Omi protein, when made in a heterologous system, shows proteolytic activity against a nonspecific substrate beta-casein. The proteolytic activity of Omi is markedly up-regulated in the mouse kidney following ischemia/reperfusion.