Characterization and activation of procollagenase from human polymorphonuclear leucocytes

N-terminal sequence determination of the proenzyme and various proteolytically activated forms


  • Note. The novel amino acid sequnce data published here have been deposited with the EMBL sequence data bank.

Correspondence to H. Tschesche, Fakultät für Chemie. Universität Bielefeld, Postfach 8640, D-4800 Bielefeld 1, Federal Republic of Germany


Procollagenase of human polymorphonuclear leucocytes was purified to homogeneity using a rapid and reproducible method. The purification procedure included affinity chromatography on zinc chelate Sepharose, ion exchange chromatography on Q-Sepharose fast flow, followed by affinity chromatography on orange Sepharose and finally a gel-permeation step on Sephacryl S-300. It was shown by SDS/PAGE, under reducing conditions, that the latent collagenase of human polymorphonuclear leucocytes consists of a single polypeptide chain with an apparent relative molecular mass of 85000. Upon deglycosylation by endoglycosidase F digestion, the apparent relative molecular mass of the procollagenase was reduced to 53000 which is similar to that of the fibroblast enzyme, and indicates a close relationship between both enzymes. Sequence data were determined by direct automated Edman degradation of the purified polymorphonuclear leucocyte procollagenase. The complete sequence of the propeptide region (residue 1–120) was thereby established. The proteolytic activation of the polymorphonuclear leucocyte procollagenase by various enzymes was investigated by determining the N-terminal sequences of the intermediate and final activated forms. Activation by chymotrypsin and cathepsin G led to the active form (Mr 64000) by cleaving 79 N-terminal residues from the proenzyme. Trypsin activates in a two-step process. Cleavage of 48 N-terminal residues led to a still latent Mr 70000 species. The final active form (Mr 65000) was obtained by splitting off 20 additional N-terminal residues.