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Pfam clanCL0126
OPM superfamily394
OPM protein4aw6
Available protein structures:
Pfam  structures / ECOD  
PDBsumstructure summary
Pfam clanCL0126
OPM superfamily184
OPM protein3b4r
Available protein structures:
Pfam  structures / ECOD  
PDBsumstructure summary

A metalloproteinase, or metalloprotease, is any protease enzyme whose catalytic mechanism involves a metal. An example is ADAM12 which plays a significant role in the fusion of muscle cells during embryo development, in a process known as myogenesis.

Most metalloproteases require zinc, but some use cobalt. The metal ion is coordinated to the protein via three ligands. The ligands coordinating the metal ion can vary with histidine, glutamate, aspartate, lysine, and arginine.[clarification needed] The fourth coordination position is taken up by a labile water molecule.

Treatment with chelating agents such as EDTA leads to complete inactivation. EDTA is a metal chelator that removes zinc, which is essential for activity. They are also inhibited by the chelator orthophenanthroline.


There are two subgroups of metalloproteinases:

In the MEROPS database peptidase families are grouped by their catalytic type, the first character representing the catalytic type: A, aspartic; C, cysteine; G, glutamic acid; M, metallo; S, serine; T, threonine; and U, unknown. The serine, threonine and cysteine peptidases utilise the amino acid as a nucleophile and form an acyl intermediate - these peptidases can also readily act as transferases. In the case of aspartic, glutamic and metallopeptidases, the nucleophile is an activated water molecule. In many instances, the structural protein fold that characterises the clan or family may have lost its catalytic activity, yet retained its function in protein recognition and binding.

Metalloproteases are the most diverse of the four main protease types, with more than 50 families classified to date. In these enzymes, a divalent cation, usually zinc, activates the water molecule. The metal ion is held in place by amino acid ligands, usually three in number. The known metal ligands are histidine, glutamate, aspartate or lysine and at least one other residue is required for catalysis, which may play an electrophilic role. Of the known metalloproteases, around half contain an HEXXH motif, which has been shown in crystallographic studies to form part of the metal-binding site.[3] The HEXXH motif is relatively common, but can be more stringently defined for metalloproteases as 'abXHEbbHbc', where 'a' is most often valine or threonine and forms part of the S1' subsite in thermolysin and neprilysin, 'b' is an uncharged residue, and 'c' a hydrophobic residue.[4] Proline is never found in this site, possibly because it would break the helical structure adopted by this motif in metalloproteases.[3]

Metallopeptidases from family M48 are integral membrane proteins associated with the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi, binding one zinc ion per subunit. These endopeptidases include CAAX prenyl protease 1, which proteolytically removes the C-terminal three residues of farnesylated proteins.[citation needed]

Metalloproteinase inhibitors are found in numerous marine organisms, including fish, cephalopods, mollusks, algae and bacteria.[5]

Members of the M50 metallopeptidase family include: mammalian sterol-regulatory element binding protein (SREBP) site 2 protease and Escherichia coli protease EcfE, stage IV sporulation protein FB.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Shen, Yuequan; Joachimiak, Andrzej; Rosner, Marsha Rich; Tang, Wei-Jen (2006-10-19). "Structures of human insulin-degrading enzyme reveal a new substrate recognition mechanism". Nature. 443 (7113): 870–874. Bibcode:2006Natur.443..870S. doi:10.1038/nature05143. ISSN 1476-4687. PMC 3366509. PMID 17051221.
  2. ^ King, John V.; Liang, Wenguang G.; Scherpelz, Kathryn P.; Schilling, Alexander B.; Meredith, Stephen C.; Tang, Wei-Jen (2014-07-08). "Molecular basis of substrate recognition and degradation by human presequence protease". Structure. 22 (7): 996–1007. doi:10.1016/j.str.2014.05.003. ISSN 1878-4186. PMC 4128088. PMID 24931469.
  3. ^ a b Rawlings ND, Barrett AJ (1995). "Evolutionary families of metallopeptidases". Proteolytic Enzymes: Aspartic and Metallo Peptidases. Methods in Enzymology. Vol. 248. pp. 183–228. doi:10.1016/0076-6879(95)48015-3. ISBN 978-0-12-182149-4. PMID 7674922.
  4. ^ Minde DP, Maurice MM, Rüdiger SG (2012). "Determining biophysical protein stability in lysates by a fast proteolysis assay, FASTpp". PLOS ONE. 7 (10): e46147. Bibcode:2012PLoSO...746147M. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0046147. PMC 3463568. PMID 23056252.
  5. ^ Thomas NV, Kim SK (2010). "Metalloproteinase inhibitors: status and scope from marine organisms". Biochemistry Research International. 2010: 845975. doi:10.1155/2010/845975. PMC 3004377. PMID 21197102.

External links[edit]

This article incorporates text from the public domain Pfam and InterPro: IPR008915