Active Site

Aspartic peptidase, active site (IPR001969)

Short name: Aspartic_peptidase_AS

Description

Aspartic peptidase, also known as aspartyl proteases (EC:3.4.23.-) are a widely distributed family of proteolytic enzymes [PMID: 6795036, PMID: 2194475, PMID: 1851433] known to exist in vertebrates, fungi, plants, retroviruses and some plant viruses. Aspartate proteases of eukaryotes are monomeric enzymes which consist of two domains. Each domain contains an active site centred on a catalytic aspartyl residue. The two domains most probably evolved from the duplication of an ancestral gene encoding a primordial domain. Currently known eukaryotic aspartyl proteases are:

  • Vertebrate gastric pepsins A and C (also known as gastricsin). Vertebrate chymosin (rennin), involved in digestion and used for making cheese.
  • Vertebrate lysosomal cathepsins D (EC 3.4.23.5) and E (EC 3.4.23.34).
  • Mammalian renin (EC 3.4.23.15) whose function is to generate angiotensin I from angiotensinogen in the plasma.
  • Fungal proteases such as aspergillopepsin A (EC 3.4.23.18), candidapepsin (EC 3.4.23.24), mucoropepsin (EC 3.4.23.23) (mucor rennin), endothiapepsin (EC 3.4.23.22), polyporopepsin (EC 3.4.23.29), and rhizopuspepsin (EC 3.4.23.21).
  • Yeast saccharopepsin (EC 3.4.23.25) (proteinase A) (gene PEP4). PEP4 is implicated in posttranslational regulation of vacuolar hydrolases.
  • Yeast barrierpepsin (EC 3.4.23.35) (gene BAR1); a protease that cleaves alpha-factor and thus acts as an antagonist of the mating pheromone.
  • Fission yeast sxa1 which is involved in degrading or processing the mating pheromones.

This signature contains the active site residues which are conserved in eukaryotic and viral aspartyl proteases.

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:0004190 aspartic-type endopeptidase activity

Cellular Component

No terms assigned in this category.

Contributing signatures

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