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Identification and characterization of Lactobacillus helveticus PepO2, an endopeptidase with post-proline specificity

Chen, Y.S., Christensen, J.E., Broadbent, J.R., Steele, J.L.
Applied and environmental microbiology 2003 v.69 no.2 pp. 1276-1282
Lactobacillus helveticus, cheese starters, proteinases, structural genes, nucleotide sequences, amino acid sequences, transcription (genetics), messenger RNA, enzyme activity, proteolysis, substrate specificity, peptides, hydrolysis, alphaS1-casein, beta-casein
A post-proline endopeptidase (PepO2) was detected in cell extracts from a genomic library of Lactobacillus helveticus CNRZ32 by using the synthetic substrate N-acetyl-β-casein-(f203-209)-p-nitroanilide in a coupled reaction with aminopeptidase N. Isolates with activity for this substrate contained plasmids with visually indistinguishable restriction profiles. Nucleotide sequence analysis revealed a 1,947-bp open reading frame, designated pepO2, encoding a putative 71.4-kDa protein. Analysis of the predicted peptide sequence revealed that L. helveticus PepO2 contained the zinc-dependent metalloprotease motif HEXXH and exhibited levels of amino acid sequence similarity of 72, 61, 59, and 53% to L. helveticus PepO, Lactococcus lactis PepO2, L. lactis PepO, and Lactobacillus rhamnosus PepO, respectively. Northern hybridization results indicated that the transcript containing pepO2 was monocistronic. Despite the high degrees of amino acid similarity to PepO proteins from other lactic acid bacteria, the specificity of the L. helveticus PepO2 for post-proline bonds distinguishes it from other PepO-type endopeptidases characterized to date. The specificity for post-proline bonds also suggests that this enzyme may play a central role in the hydrolysis of casein-derived bitter peptides, such as β-casein(f193-209).