Discrimination of differentially inhibited cysteine proteases by activity-based profiling using cystatin variants with tailored specificities.J Proteome Res. 2012 Dec 07; 11(12):5983-93.JP
Recent research has shown the possibility of tailoring the inhibitory specificity of plant cystatins toward cysteine (Cys) proteases by single mutations at positively selected amino acid sites. Here we devised a cystatin activity-based profiling approach to assess the impact of such mutations at the proteome scale using single variants of tomato cystatin SlCYS8 and digestive Cys proteases of the herbivorous insect, Colorado potato beetle, as a model. Biotinylated forms of SlCYS8 and SlCYS8 variants were used to capture susceptible Cys proteases in insect midgut protein extracts by biotin immobilization on avidin-embedded beads. A quantitative LC-MS/MS analysis of the captured proteins was performed to compare the inhibitory profile of different SlCYS8 variants. The approach confirmed the relevance of phylogenetic inferences categorizing the insect digestive Cys proteases into six functionally distinct families. It also revealed significant variation in protease family profiles captured with N-terminal variants of SlCYS8, in line with in silico structural models for Cys protease-SlCYS8 interactions suggesting a functional role for the N-terminal region. Our data confirm overall the usefulness of cystatin activity-based protease profiling for the monitoring of Cys protease-inhibitor interactions in complex biological systems. They also illustrate the potential of biotinylated cystatins to identify recombinant cystatin candidates for the inactivation of specific Cys protease targets.