Protein degradation by aminopeptidases is involved in bacterial responses to stress. Escherichia coli produces two metal-dependent M17 family leucine aminopeptidases (LAPs), aminopeptidase A (PepA) and aminopeptidase B (PepB). Several structures have been solved for PepA as well as other bacterial M17 peptidases. Herein, we report the first structures of a PepB M17 peptidase. The E. coli PepB protein structure was determined at a resolution of 2.05 and 2.6 Å. One structure has both Zn2+ and Mn2+ , while the second structure has two Zn2+ ions bound to the active site. A 2.75 Å apo structure is also reported for PepB from Yersinia pestis. Both proteins form homohexamers, similar to the overall arrangement of PepA and other M17 peptidases. However, the divergent N-terminal domain in PepB is much larger resulting in a tertiary structure that is more expanded. Modeling of a dipeptide substrate into the C-terminal LAP domain reveals contacts that account for PepB to uniquely cleave after aspartate.
Keywords: Escherichia coli; Yersinia pestis; PepB; X-ray crystallography; aminopeptidase; hexamer; metalloprotease.
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