PloS one

The threonine protease activity of testes-specific protease 50 (TSP50) is essential for its function in cell proliferation.

PMID 22574111


Testes-specific protease 50 (TSP50), a newly discovered threonine enzyme, has similar amino acid sequences and enzymatic structures to those of many serine proteases. It may be an oncogene. TSP50 is up-regulated in breast cancer epithelial cells, and ectopic expression of TSP50 in TSP50-deficient Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells has been found to promote cell proliferation. However, the mechanisms by which TSP50 exerts its growth-promoting effects are not yet fully understood. To delineate whether the threonine protease activity of TSP50 is essential to its function in cell proliferation, we constructed and characterized a mutant TSP50, called TSP50 T310A, which was identified as a protease-dead mutant of TSP50. By a series of proliferation analyses, colony formation assays and apoptosis analyses, we showed that T310A mutation significantly depresses TSP50-induced cell proliferation in vitro. Next, the CHO stable cell line expressing either wild-type or T310A mutant TSP50 was injected subcutaneously into nude mice. We found that the T310A mutation could abolish the tumorigenicity of TSP50 in vivo. A mechanism investigation revealed that the T310A mutation prevented interaction between TSP50 and the NF-κBIκBα complex, which is necessary for TSP50 to perform its function in cell proliferation. Our data highlight the importance of threonine 310, the most critical protease catalytic site in TSP50, to TSP50-induced cell proliferation and tumor formation.