Author(s): Mancini A, Jovanovic DV, He QW, Di Battista JA
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Abstract Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) catalyzes the rate-limiting step in inflammatory prostanoid biosynthesis. Transcriptional, post-transcriptional, and post-translational covalent modifications have been defined as important levels of regulation for COX-2 gene expression. Here, we describe a novel regulatory mechanism in primary human cells involving regulated, sequence-specific proteolysis of COX-2 that correlates with its catalytic activity and ultimately, the biosynthesis of prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)). Proinflammatory cytokines induced COX-2 expression and its proteolysis into stable immunoreactive fragments of 66, 42-44, 34-36, and 28 kDa. Increased COX-2 activity (PGE(2) release) was observed coincident with the timing and degree of COX-2 proteolysis with correlation analysis confirming a linear relationship (R(2) = 0.941). Inhibition of induced COX-2 activity with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and COX-2 selective inhibitors also abrogated cleavage. To determine if NSAID inhibition of proteolysis was related to drug-binding-induced conformational changes in COX-2, we assayed COX-inactive NSAID derivatives that fail to bind COX-2. Interestingly, these compounds suppressed COX-2 activity and cleavage in a correlated manner, thus suggesting that the observed NSAID-induced inhibition of COX-2 cleavage occurred through COX-independent mechanisms, presumably through the inhibition of proteases involved in COX-2 processing. Corroborating this observation, COX-2 cleavage and activity were mutually suppressed by calpain/cathepsin protease inhibitors. Our data suggest that the nascent intracellular form of COX-2 may undergo limited proteolysis to attain full catalytic capacity.
This article was published in J Cell Biochem
and referenced in Journal of Molecular and Genetic Medicine