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Determination of the cleavage site of the presequence by mitochondrial processing peptidase on the substrate binding scaffold and the multiple subsites inside a molecular cavity.

Kitada S., Yamasaki E., Kojima K., Ito A.

Mitochondrial processing peptidase (MPP) recognizes a large variety of basic presequences of mitochondrial preproteins and cleaves the single site, often including arginine, at the -2 position (P(2)). To elucidate the recognition and specific processing of the preproteins by MPP, we mutated to alanines at acidic residues conserved in a large internal cavity formed by the MPP subunits, alpha-MPP and beta-MPP, and analyzed the processing efficiencies for various preproteins. We report here that alanine mutations at a subsite in rat beta-MPP interacting with the P(2) arginine cause a shift in the processing site to the C-terminal side of the preprotein. Because of reduced interactions with the P(2) arginine, the mutated enzymes recognize not only the N-terminal authentic cleavage site with P(2) arginine but also the potential C-terminal cleavage site without a P(2) arginine. In fact, it competitively cleaves the two sites of the preprotein. Moreover, the acidified site of alpha-MPP, which binds to the distal basic site in the long presequence, recognized the authentic P(2) arginine as the distal site in compensation for ionic interaction at the proximal site in the mutant MPP. Thus, MPP seems to scan the presequence from beta-to alpha-MPP on the substrate binding scaffold inside the MPP cavity and finds the distal and P(2) arginines on the multiple subsites on both MPP subunits. A possible mechanism for substrate recognition and cleavage is discussed here based on the notable character of a subsite-deficient mutant of MPP in which the substrate specificity is altered.

J. Biol. Chem. 278:1879-1885(2003) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]