Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) plays a central role in the renin-angiotensin system (RAS), which is primarily responsible for blood pressure homeostasis. Studies have shown that ACE inhibitors yield cardiovascular benefits that cannot be entirely attributed to the inhibition of ACE catalytic activity. It is possible that these benefits are due to interactions between ACE and RAS receptors that mediate the protective arm of the RAS, such as angiotensin II receptor type 2 (AT2R) and the receptor MAS. Therefore, in this study, we investigated the molecular interactions of ACE, including ACE homodimerization and heterodimerization with AT2R and MAS, respectively. Molecular interactions were assessed by fluorescence resonance energy transfer and bimolecular fluorescence complementation in human embryonic kidney 293 cells and Chinese hamster ovary-K1 cells transfected with vectors encoding fluorophore-tagged proteins. The specificity of dimerization was verified by competition experiments using untagged proteins. These techniques were used to study several potential requirements for the germinal isoform of angiotensin-converting enzyme expressed in the testes (tACE) dimerization as well as the effect of ACE inhibitors on both somatic isoforms of angiotensin-converting enzyme expressed in the testes (sACE) and tACE dimerization. We demonstrated constitutive homodimerization of sACE and of both of its domains separately, as well as heterodimerization of both sACE and tACE with AT2R, but not MAS. In addition, we investigated both soluble sACE and the sACE N domain using size-exclusion chromatography-coupled small-angle X-ray scattering and we observed dimers in solution for both forms of the enzyme. Our results suggest that ACE homo- and heterodimerization does occur under physiologic conditions.
Copyright © 2018 by The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.