[en] propeptide ; cysteine protease ; unfolding ; Der p 1 ; stability ; mechanism of activation ; allergen ; zymogen ; fluorescence quenching
[en] BACKGROUND: Papain-like proteases (CA1) are synthesized as inactive precursors carrying an N-terminal propeptide, which is further removed under acidic conditions to generate active enzymes. METHODS: To have a better insight into the mechanism of activation of this protease family, we compared the pH unfolding of the zymogen and the mature form of the mite cysteine protease Der p 1. RESULTS: We showed that the presence of the propeptide does not significantly influence the pH-induced unfolding of the catalytic domain but does affect its fluorescence properties by modifying the exposure of the tryptophan 192 to the solvent. In addition, we demonstrated that the propeptide displays weaker pH stability than the protease domain confirming that the unfolding of the propeptide is the key event in the activation process of the zymogen. GENERAL SIGNIFICANCE: Finally, we show, using thermal denaturation and enzymatic activity measurements, that whatever the pH value, the propeptide does not stabilize the structure of the catalytic domain but very interestingly, prevents its autolysis.