Peptidase A26, omptin (IPR000036)

Short name: Peptidase_A26_omptin

Overlapping homologous superfamilies

Family relationships



This group of aspartic peptidases belongs to the MEROPS family A26 (clan AF). Members of the family are transmembrane proteins. The type example for the family is omptin (also known as protease VII) from Escherichia coli, the product of the ompT gene. Omptin preferentially cleaves polypeptides between two basically-charged amino acids [PMID: 3056908]. The tertiary structure has been solved and shows a ten-stranded beta barrel, and because the strands are amphipathic, hydrolphilic rsidue point into the barrel with the hydrophobic residue on the outside. The active site residues, two pairs of aspartic acids and a histidine, are on opposite sides of the active site groove and at the periplasmic surface [PMID: 11566868]. Because the enzyme is sensitive to the serine protease inhibitor diisopropylfluoro-phosphate [PMID: 3056908], omptin was incorrectly identified as a serine peptidase.

The family also includes the surface protease Pla from the plague organism Yersinia pestis, which is an important virulence factor. Pla can activate plasminogen and inactivate plasmin inhibitor, which may lead to uncontrolled proteolysis and aid entry of the bacterium into the circulation [PMID: 11401715]. Pla is temperature sensitive, with proteolytic activity changing with temperature. At temperatures below 30 C, Pla acts as a coagulase, but at temperatures above 30 C it is fibrolytic [PMID: 2526282].

Aspartic peptidases, also known as aspartyl proteases (EC:3.4.23.-), are widely distributed proteolytic enzymes [PMID: 6795036, PMID: 2194475, PMID: 1851433] known to exist in vertebrates, fungi, plants, protozoa, bacteria, archaea, retroviruses and some plant viruses. All known aspartic peptidases are endopeptidases. A water molecule, activated by two aspartic acid residues, acts as the nucleophile in catalysis. Aspartic peptidases can be grouped into five clans, each of which shows a unique structural fold [PMID: 8439290].

  • Peptidases in clan AA are either bilobed (family A1 or the pepsin family) or are a homodimer (all other families in the clan, including retropepsin from HIV-1/AIDS) [PMID: 2682266]. Each lobe consists of a single domain with a closed beta-barrel and each lobe contributes one Asp to form the active site. Most peptidases in the clan are inhibited by the naturally occurring small-molecule inhibitor pepstatin [PMID: 4912600].
  • Clan AC contains the single family A8: the signal peptidase 2 family. Members of the family are found in all bacteria. Signal peptidase 2 processes the premurein precursor, removing the signal peptide. The peptidase has four transmembrane domains and the active site is on the periplasmic side of the cell membrane. Cleavage occurs on the amino side of a cysteine where the thiol group has been substituted by a diacylglyceryl group. Site-directed mutagenesis has identified two essential aspartic acid residues which occur in the motifs GNXXDRX and FNXAD (where X is a hydrophobic residue) [PMID: 10497172]. No tertiary structures have been solved for any member of the family, but because of the intramembrane location, the structure is assumed not to be pepsin-like.
  • Clan AD contains two families of transmembrane endopeptidases: A22 and A24. These are also known as "GXGD peptidases" because of a common GXGD motif which includes one of the pair of catalytic aspartic acid residues. Structures are known for members of both families and show a unique, common fold with up to nine transmembrane regions [PMID: 21765428]. The active site aspartic acids are located within a large cavity in the membrane into which water can gain access [PMID: 23254940].
  • Clan AE contains two families, A25 and A31. Tertiary structures have been solved for members of both families and show a common fold consisting of an alpha-beta-alpha sandwich, in which the beta sheet is five stranded [PMID: 10331925, PMID: 10864493].
  • Clan AF contains the single family A26. Members of the clan are membrane-proteins with a unique fold. Homologues are known only from bacteria. The structure of omptin (also known as OmpT) shows a cylindrical barrel containing ten beta strands inserted in the membrane with the active site residues on the outer surface [PMID: 11566868].
  • There are two families of aspartic peptidases for which neither structure nor active site residues are known and these are not assigned to clans. Family A5 includes thermopsin, an endopeptidase found only in thermophilic archaea. Family A36 contains sporulation factor SpoIIGA, which is known to process and activate sigma factor E, one of the transcription factors that controls sporulation in bacteria [PMID: 21751400].

GO terms

Biological Process

GO:0006508 proteolysis

Molecular Function

GO:0004175 endopeptidase activity

Cellular Component

GO:0009279 cell outer membrane

Contributing signatures

Signatures from InterPro member databases are used to construct an entry.