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Identification of monomeric alpha-macroglobulin proteinase inhibitors in birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals, and purification and characterization of a monomeric alpha-macroglobulin proteinase inhibitor from the American bullfrog Rana catesbeiana

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  • Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center
  • Department of Molecular Biology
The alpha-macroglobulins are classified as broad-spectrum inhibitors because of their ability to entrap proteinases of different specificities and catalytic class. Tetrameric and dimeric alpha-macroglobulins have been identified in a wide variety of organisms including those as primitive as the mollusc Octopus vulgaris; however, monomeric alpha-macroglobulin proteinase inhibitors have been previously identified only in rodents. The monomeric alpha-macroglobulin proteinase inhibitors are believed to be analogous to the evolutionary precursor of the multimeric members of this family exemplified by the tetrameric human alpha 2-macroglobulin. Until now, monomeric alpha-macroglobulin proteinase inhibitors have only been identified in rodents and have therefore been considered an evolutionary anomaly. However, in this report we have utilized several sensitive assays to screen various plasmas and sera for the presence of monomeric alpha-macroglobulins, and our results suggest that monomeric alpha-macroglobulin proteinase inhibitors are present in organisms belonging to the avian, reptilian, amphibian and mammalian classes of the chordate phylum. This indicates that these proteins are more widespread than previously recognized and that their presence in rodents is not an anomaly. To demonstrate further that the identified proteins were indeed monomeric alpha-macroglobulin proteinase inhibitors, we purified the monomeric alpha-macroglobulin from the American bullfrog Rana catesbeiana. We conclude that this protein is a monomer of 180 kDa on the basis of its behaviour on (i) pore-limit gel electrophoresis, (ii) non-reducing and reducing SDS/PAGE and (iii) gel-filtration chromatography. In addition, we demonstrate that this protein is an alpha-macroglobulin proteinase inhibitor by virtue of (i) its ability to inhibit proteinases of different catalytic class, (ii) the presence of a putative internal beta-cysteinyl-gamma-glutamyl thioester and (iii) an inhibitory mechanism characterized by steric protection of the proteinase active site and by sensitivity to small primary amines. The frog monomeric alpha-macroglobulin is structurally and functionally similar to the well-characterized monomeric alpha-macroglobulin proteinase inhibitor rat alpha 1-inhibitor-3.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBiochemical Journal
Volume290 ( Pt 1)
Pages (from-to)85-95
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 1993

    Research areas

  • Amino Acid Sequence, Animals, Binding Sites, Chickens, Chromatography, Gel, Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel, Evolution, Humans, Macromolecular Substances, Mice, Molecular Sequence Data, Protease Inhibitors, Rana catesbeiana, Rats, Turkeys, alpha-Macroglobulins

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