Structural basis of reduction-dependent activation of human cystatin F

Alexander W. Schüttelkopf, Garth Hamilton, Colin Watts, Daan M. F. van Aalten

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36 Citations (Scopus)


Cystatins are important natural cysteine protease inhibitors targeting primarily papain-like cysteine proteases, including cathepsins and parasitic proteases like cruzipain, but also mammalian asparaginyl endopeptidase. Mammalian cystatin F, which is expressed almost exclusively in hematopoietic cells and accumulates in lysosome-like organelles, has been implicated in the regulation of antigen presentation and other immune processes. It is an unusual cystatin superfamily member with a redox-regulated activation mechanism and a restricted specificity profile. We describe the 2.1 Å crystal structure of human cystatin F in its dimeric "off" state. The two monomers interact in a fashion not seen before for cystatins or cystatin-like proteins that is crucially dependent on an unusual intermolecular disulfide bridge, suggesting how reduction leads to monomer formation and activation. Strikingly, core sugars for one of the two N-linked glycosylation sites of cystatin F are well ordered, and their conformation and interactions with the protein indicate that this unique feature of cystatin F may modulate its inhibitory properties, in particular its reduced affinity toward asparaginyl endopeptidase compared with other cystatins.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16570-16575
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2006

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