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Bras, Grazyna; Bochenska, Oliwia; Rapala-Kozik, Maria; Guevara-Lora, Ibeth; Faussner, Alexander; Kozik, Andrzej (2012): Extracellular aspartic protease SAP2 of Candida albicans yeast cleaves human kininogens and releases proinflammatory peptides, Met-Lys-bradykinin and des-Arg(9)-Met-Lys-bradykinin. In: Biological Chemistry, Vol. 393, No. 8: pp. 829-839


Bradykinin-related peptides, universal mediators of inflammation collectively referred to as the kinins, are often produced in excessive amounts during microbial infections. We have recently shown that the yeast Candida albicans, the major fungal pathogen to humans, can exploit two mechanisms to enhance kinin levels at the sites of candidial infection, one depending on adsorption and activation of the endogenous kinin-generating system of the host on the fungal cell wall and the other relying on cleavage of kinin precursors, the kininogens, by pathogen-secreted proteases. This work aimed at assigning this kininogenase activity to the major secreted aspartic protease of C. albicans (SAP2). The purified SAP2 was shown to cleave human kininogens, preferably the low molecular mass form (LK) and optimally in an acidic environment (pH 3.5-4.0), and to produce two kinins, Met-Lys-bradykinin and its derivative, {[}Hydroxyproline(3)]-Met-Lys-bradykinin, both of which are capable of interacting with cellular bradykinin receptors of the B2 subtype. Additionally, albeit with a lower yield, des-Arg(9)-Met-Lys-bradykinin, an effective agonist of B1-subtype receptors, was released. The pathophysiological potential of these kinins and des-Arg-kinin was also proven by presenting their ability to stimulate human promonocytic cells U937 to release proinflammatory interleukin 1 beta (IL-1 beta) and IL-6.