Using Every Trick in the Book: The Pla Surface Protease of Yersinia pestis
The Pla surface protease of Yersinia pestis, encoded by the Y. pestis-specific plasmid pPCP1, is a versatile virulence factor. In vivo studies have shown that Pla is essential in the establishment of bubonic plague, and in vitro studies have demonstrated various putative virulence functions for the Pla molecule. Pla is a surface protease of the omptin family, and its proteolytic targets include the abundant, circulating human zymogen plasminogen, which is activated by Pla to the serine protease plasmin. Plasmin is important in cell migration, and Pla also proteolytically inactivates the main circulating inhibitor of plasmin, α2-antiplasmin. Pla also is an adhesin with affinity for laminin, a major glycoprotein of mammalian basement membranes, which is degraded by plasmin but not by Pla. Together, these functions create uncontrolled plasmin proteolysis targeted at tissue barriers. Other proteolytic targets for Pla include complement proteins.
KeywordsCatalytic Residue Yersinia Pestis Tissue Barrier MEROPS Database Surface Protease
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