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The Journal of biological chemistry

Characterization of a novel and specific inhibitor for the pro-apoptotic protease Omi/HtrA2.


PMID 12529364

Abstract

Omi/HtrA2 is a mammalian serine protease with high homology to bacterial HtrA chaperones. Omi/HtrA2 is localized in mitochondria and is released to the cytoplasm in response to apoptotic stimuli. Omi/HtrA2 induces cell death in a caspase-dependent manner by interacting with the inhibitor of apoptosis protein as well as in a caspase-independent manner that relies on its protease activity. We describe the identification and characterization of a novel compound as a specific inhibitor of the proteolytic activity of Omi/HtrA2. This compound (ucf-101) was isolated in a high throughput screening of a combinatorial library using bacterially made Omi-(134-458) protease and fluorescein-casein as a generic substrate. ucf-101 showed specific activity against Omi/HtrA2 and very little activity against various other serine proteases. This compound has a natural fluorescence that was used to monitor its ability to enter mammalian cells. ucf-101, when tested in caspase-9 (-/-) null fibroblasts, was found to inhibit Omi/HtrA2-induced cell death.

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