Characterization of proteinase-3 (PR-3), a neutrophil serine proteinase: Structural and functional properties

Narayanam V. Rao, Nancy G. Wehner, Bruce C. Marshall, William R. Gray, Beulah H. Gray, John R. Hoidal

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258 Scopus citations


Proteinase 3 (PR-3) is a human polymorphonuclear leukocyte (PMNL) serine proteinase that degrades elastin in vitro and causes emphysema when administered by tracheal insufflation to hamsters (Kao, R. C., Wehner, N. G., Skubitz, K. M., Gray, B. H., and Hoidal, J. R. (1988) J. Clin. Invest. 82, 1963-1973). We have determined the primary structure of several PR-3 peptides and have analyzed catalytic properties of the enzyme. The enzyme has considerable amino acid sequence homology with two other well characterized PMNL neutral serine proteinases, elastase and cathepsin G. Furthermore, the NH2-terminal amino acid sequence of PR-3 is identical to that of the target antigen of the anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibodies associated with Wegener's granulomatosis. PR-3 degrades a variety of matrix proteins including fibronectin, laminin, vitronectin, and collagen type IV. It shows no or minimal activity against interstitial collagens types I and III, respectively. The analysis of peptides generated by PR-3 digestion of insulin chains and the activity profile against a panel of chromogenic synthetic peptide substrates show that PR-3 prefers small aliphatic amino acids (alanine, serine, and valine) at the P, site. The elastase-like specificity of PR-3 is consistent with its striking sequence homology to elastase at substrate binding sites. PR-3 is inhibited by α1proteinase inhibitor (ka = 8.1 × 106 M-1 s-1; delay time = 25 ms) and α2-macroglobulin (ka = 1.1 × 107 M-1 s-1; delay time = 114 ms) but not by α1-anti-chymotrypsin. In contrast to elastase and cathepsin G, PR-3 is not inhibited by secretory leukoprotease inhibitor and is weakly inhibited by eglin c. Thus, PR-3 is distinct from the other PMNL proteinases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9540-9548
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number15
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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