Kininogen-derived peptides for investigating the putative vasoactive properties of human cathepsins K and L

Claire Desmazes, Laurent Galineau, Francis Gauthier, Dieter Brömme, Gilles Lalmanach

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29 Scopus citations


Macrophages at an inflammatory site release massive amounts of proteolytic enzymes, including lysosomal cysteine proteases, which colocalize with their circulating, tight-binding inhibitors (cystatins, kininogens), so modifying the protease/antiprotease equilibrium in favor of enhanced proteolysis. We have explored the ability of human cathepsins B, K and L to participate in the production of kinins, using kininogens and synthetic peptides that mimic the insertion sites of bradykinin on human kininogens. Although both cathepsins processed high-molecular weight kininogen under stoichiometric conditions, only cathepsin L generated significant amounts of immunoreactive kinins. Cathepsin L exhibited higher specificity constants (kcat/Km) than tissue kallikrein (hK1), and similar Michaelis) constants towards kininogen-derived synthetic substrates. A 20-mer peptide, whose sequence encompassed kininogen residues Ile376 to Ile393, released bradykinin (BK; 80%) and Lys-bradykinin (20%) when incubated with cathepsin L. By contrast, cathepsin K did not release any kinin, but a truncated kinin metabolite BK(5-9) [FSPFR(385-389)]. Accordingly cathepsin K rapidly produced BK(5-9) from bradykinin and Lys-bradykinin, and BK(5-8) from des-Arg9-bradykinin, by cleaving the Gly384-Phe385 bond. Data suggest that extracellular cysteine proteases may participate in the regulation of kinin levels at inflammatory sites, and clearly support that cathepsin K may act as a potent kininase.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-178
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Biochemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2003


  • Cathepsin
  • Cysteine protease
  • Inflammation
  • Kinin
  • Kininogen


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