kinetics of inhibition of sperm β-acrosin activity by suramin

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  • Kinetics of inhibition of sperm L-acrosin activity by suramin

    Josephine M. Hermansa;, Dianne S. Hainesa, Peter S. Jamesb, Roy JonesbaDepartment of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, School of Pharmacy and Molecular Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville,

    Qld 4811, AustraliabGamete Signalling Laboratory, The Babraham Institute, Cambridge CB2 4AT, UK

    Received 7 March 2003; revised 28 April 2003; accepted 29 April 2003

    First published online 14 May 2003

    Edited by Judit Ovadi

    Abstract Sperm LL-acrosin activity is inhibited by suramin, apolysulfonated naphthylurea compound with therapeutic poten-tial as a combined antifertility agent and microbicide. A kineticanalysis of enzyme inhibition suggests that three and four mol-ecules of suramin bind to one molecule of ram and boarLL-acrosins respectively. Surface charge distribution models ofboar LL-acrosin based on its crystal structure indicate severalpositively charged exosites that represent potential dockingregions for suramin. It is hypothesised that the spatial arrange-ment and distance between these exosites determines the ca-pacity of LL-acrosin to bind suramin.! 2003 Published by Elsevier Science B.V. on behalf of theFederation of European Biochemical Societies.

    Key words: Spermatozoa; L-Acrosin; Fertilisation; Suramin;Serine protease; Contraception

    1. Introduction

    Proacrosin, the zymogen form of the serine protease L-acro-sin (EC, is found specically within the acrosomalvesicle of spermatozoa from ascidians to mammals [1^3]. Itsprimary sequence shows signicant identity to other serineproteases such as trypsin (35%), chymotrypsin (33%), elastase(29%) and kallikrein (27%) [1]. Proacrosin is also one of acohort of reproductive proteins that show a high rate of se-quence diversication, a characteristic feature of adaptive evo-lutionary processes that contribute to speciation [4]. In intactspermatozoa proacrosin is complexed to several binding pro-teins and inhibitors within the acrosomal matrix and is onlyconverted to L-acrosin following exocytosis of the acrosomalvesicle. Unusually for a serine protease, it autoactivates byinternal cleavages at both the N- and C-termini to producea truncated two-chain molecule cross-linked by disuldebridges [5]. Recently, the three-dimensional structures ofboar and ram sperm L-acrosins were determined by X-raycrystallography and were noteworthy for the presence of pos-itively charged patches of basic residues close to the activesite [6]. These patches allowed close apposition of adjacentmolecules within the crystal stack via ionic bonding ofcharged carbohydrate chains. From a physiological stand-point, L-acrosin is thought to be a multifunctional proteinwith putative roles during fertilisation as a secondary zona

    binding molecule [7,8], for facilitating dispersal of the acroso-mal matrix [9] and as an activator of protease activated re-ceptor 2 (PAR2) on the oolemma following zona penetration[10].In previous experiments we reported that the drug suramin

    inhibits both the amidase activity of L-acrosin and binding ofspermatozoa to the zona pellucida (ZP) in vitro [11]. Suraminis a symmetrical hexasulfonated naphthylurea compound (Fig.1) that was originally synthesised as a trypanocidal agent fortreatment of sleeping sickness in East Africa [12]. Lately, ithas found diverse applications as an anticancer drug becauseof its ability to block angiogenesis, inhibit reverse transcrip-tase and cause microaggregation of growth factors [13,14].Although suramin binds to a variety of proteins (e.g. humanchymase [15], protein tyrosine phosphatase [16] and heparin-ase [17]) it can also discriminate between closely related mem-bers of the same family suggesting that the docking sites arevery precise. Thus, it is a potent inhibitor of human elastase,neutrophil protease 3 and cathepsin G but has little or noeect on pancreatic trypsin and chymotrypsin [18]. Bindingof suramin is principally ionic and depends on the correctspatial alignment between sulfonate groups on the terminalnaphthalene rings and basic residues on the surface of thetarget protein in a manner similar to that found for hepa-rin^antithrombin III interactions [19]. The ratio of suraminbinding to protein is often greater than 1, suggesting the pres-ence of several docking sites [18,20].The inhibitory eects of suramin on secondary binding of

    spermatozoa to the ZP of the egg [8], together with its anti-viral activity [21], suggest that it has potential as a combinedantifertility agent and microbicide. To further substantiatethis hypothesis, we have investigated the stoichiometry andkinetics of binding of suramin to L-acrosin from ram andboar spermatozoa. We show that either three or four mole-cules of suramin bind per molecule of L-acrosin and predictpotential binding sites on the surface of the protein fromcharge density models of its three-dimensional structure.

    2. Materials and methods

    2.1. MaterialsSubstrate S2288 (D-Ile-Pro-Arg-p-nitroanilide) was purchased from

    Helena Laboratories (Mt. Waverly, Australia). p-Nitrophenyl pP-gua-nidino-benzoate, methyl-umbelliferyl-guanidino-benzoate and methyl-umbelliferone were obtained from Sigma (Sydney, Australia). Sura-min hexasodium salt was supplied by AG Scientic (San Diego, CA,USA). L-Acrosin was puried to homogeneity from ejaculated ramand boar spermatozoa as described previously [22]. The protein gave asingle band at V38 kDa following sodium dodecyl sulphate^polyac-rylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS^PAGE)/Coomassie blue stainingand was judged to be s 95% pure by densitometry. The protein

    0014-5793 / 03 / $22.00 M 2003 Published by Elsevier Science B.V. on behalf of the Federation of European Biochemical Societies.doi:10.1016/S0014-5793(03)00488-5

    *Corresponding author. Fax: (61)-747-251394.E-mail address: (J.M. Hermans).

    Abbreviations: ZP, zona pellucida

    FEBS 27291 21-5-03 Cyaan Magenta Geel Zwart

    FEBS 27291 FEBS Letters 544 (2003) 119^122

  • was lyophilised and stored at 320C. Under these conditions theenzyme is stable for several years.

    2.2. Enzyme assays and kinetic analysisBoar L-acrosin was titrated with p-nitrophenyl pP-guanidino-ben-

    zoate in 0.035 M sodium barbitone pH 8.3 at 25C [23]. RamL-acrosin was titrated with methyl-umbelliferyl-guanidino-benzoatein 0.035 M sodium barbitone pH 8.3 at 37C using a Perkin Elmerluminescence spectrometer LS50B (excitation, 365 nm; emission, 445nm) [24].Chromogenic assays were performed at 37C in 40 mM HEPES, 20

    mM CaCl2, 200 mM NaCl, 0.1% polyethylene glycol (PEG) 6000,1 mg/ml bovine serum albumin (BSA), pH 7.4 at 405 nm using aHewlett Packard 8452A diode array spectrophotometer. Before useplastic 1.5 ml cuvettes were coated with a solution of 0.1 M NaHCO3,1% casein, 0.02% sodium azide to prevent non-specic adsorption ofproteins in the reaction mixtures to the cuvettes. Inhibition studieswere only performed with batches of L-acrosin for which the rate ofhydrolysis of S2288 demonstrated a linear dependence on enzymeconcentration. The S2288 concentration was determined from itsA342 using a molar absorption coecient of 8270 M31 cm31 [25].Initial rates for the hydrolysis of S2288 by ram and boar L-acrosins

    were measured using a range of S2288 and suramin concentrations. Atleast six concentrations of S2288 were tested, with at least one belowthe Kappm and one above the K

    appm . For each suramin concentration, the

    data were tted to the Michaelis^Menten equation (Eq. 1) by non-linear regression:

    v0 E0kcatkAkcat kAA 1where kcat is the catalytic rate constant and kA is the specicity con-stant kcat/Km.Non-linear regression was used to analyse the dependence of the

    apparent kinetic parameters with inhibitor concentration. When Eqs.2, 3 and 4 were tted the value of kcat or kA was xed. For ramL-acrosin kcat = 31U 1 s31 and kA = (2.2U 0.1)U105 M31 s31 and forboar L-acrosin kcat = 3.2 U 0.1 s31 and kA = (5.4 U 0.6)U105 M31 s31.

    3. Results and discussion

    3.1. Kinetic parameters of suramin binding on the activities ofram and boar L-acrosins

    For each suramin concentration we obtained apparent val-ues of the specicity constant and the catalytic rate constant.Pure competitive inhibitors aect only the specicity constantwhereas uncompetitive inhibitors aect only the catalytic rateconstant. Secondary plots of the inverse of kappA and k


    against inhibitor concentration are linear if the enzyme iscompletely inhibited by one inhibitor molecule [26]. Completelinear inhibition was not observed for the inhibition of L-acro-sin by suramin (Fig. 1), so the data were tted to equationsthat describe incomplete inhibition by more than one inhibitormolecule.Surprisingly, the pattern of inhibition by suramin was dif-

    ferent for ram and boar L-acrosins. For ram L-acrosin, nocompetitive inhibition was observed. In fact, a single suraminmolecule actually increased the specicity of ram L-acrosin forthe substrate (Fig. 2a). The data for the activation of ram

    L-acrosin by suramin were tted by Eq. 2 which describesthe increase of the specicity constant by a single suraminmolecule [26].



    1 I Kact

    1 b I Kact


    where Kact is the equilibrium dissociation constant for theactivating suramin molecule and b= kappA /kA when [sura-min] =r.In contrast to ram L-acrosin, competitive inhibition was

    observed for boar L-acrosin (Fig. 2c). Despite repeating thedata collection a number of times, the eect of suramin on thekappA for boar L-acrosin had a high degree of error within it.However, it is clear that partial (90%) competitive inhibitionby more than one suramin molecule is occurring. The datawere tted by Eq. 3, which describes cooperative inhibition bytwo inhibitor molecules as shown in Scheme 1 [26].



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