In enveloped viruses, post-translational proteolytic activation is a critical step for the fusion activity and thus for the infectivity of the virus. In addition to the membrane receptors for the viruses, proteolytic activation is indispensable for effective virus spread in the infected host and it is a prime determinant for pathogenicity. Here we described the host cellular processing proteases, tryptase Clara and tryptase TL2, which proteolytically activate the infectivity of influenza A and Sendai viruses in the respiratory tract and of HIV-1 in human CD4+ T cells, respectively. A novel trypsin-like protease, designated tryptase Clara, was purified from rat lung. The enzyme is localized in Clara cells of the bronchial epithelium and is secreted into the airway lumen. The enzyme specifically recognizes the consensus cleavage motif Gln(Glu)-X-Arg of influenza A and Sendal viruses and proteolytically activates the envelope fusion glycoproteins of the progeny viruses extracellularly in the airway lumen. Human mucus protease inhibitor and pulmonary surfactant in airway fluid inhibited the proteolytic activation of these viruses and also suppressed multiple cycles of viral replication in vitro. These results suggest that an imbalance between the amount of tryptase Clara and that of endogenous inhibitors in airway fluid is a prime determinant for pneumopathogenicity of the viruses. Therefore supplementing an endogenous inhibitor at therapeutic doses may protect against virus infection. In HIV-1 infection, binding of the gp120 envelope glycoprotein to the CD4 receptor is not sufficient in itself to allow virus entry, and an additional component(s) in the membrane is required for cell infection as a cofactor. We isolated a serine protease named tryptase TL2, in the membrane of CD4+ lymphocytes, which specifically binds to the V3 loop of HIV-1 gp120 as a cofactor. After binding, tryptase TL2 proteolytically processed gp120 into two protein species of 70 and 50 kDa and the cleavage was suppressed by a neutralizing antibody against the V3 loop. The amino acids that constitute the cleavage sites in the V3 loop of almost all HIV isolates are variable, but they are restricted to those which are susceptible to chymotryptic and/or tryptic enzyme. The multi-substrate specificity of tryptase TL2, which has tryptic and chymotryptic specificities, may correspond to the variability of the V3 loop. The selective cleavage of the V3 loop by tryptase TL2 may lead to a conformational change of gp120, resulting in the dissociation of gp120 from gp41, exposing the fusogenic domain of the transmembrane protein gp41 following virus-host cell fusion.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Medicine
- Molecular Biology
- Cancer Research