Crystal structure and autoactivation pathway of the precursor form of human tripeptidyl-peptidase 1, the enzyme deficient in late infantile ceroid lipofuscinosis.
Late infantile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis is a fatal childhood neurological disorder caused by a deficiency in the lysosomal protease tripeptidyl-peptidase 1 (TPP1). TPP1 represents the only known mammalian member of the S53 family of serine proteases, a group characterized by a subtilisin-like fold, a Ser-Glu-Asp catalytic triad, and an acidic pH optimum. TPP1 is synthesized as an inactive proenzyme (pro-TPP1) that is proteolytically processed into the active enzyme after exposure to low pH in vitro or targeting to the lysosome in vivo. In this study, we describe an endoglycosidase H-deglycosylated form of TPP1 containing four Asn-linked N-acetylglucosamines that is indistinguishable from fully glycosylated TPP1 in terms of autocatalytic processing of the proform and enzymatic properties of the mature protease. The crystal structure of deglycosylated pro-TPP1 was determined at 1.85 angstroms resolution. A large 151-residue C-shaped prodomain makes extensive contacts as it wraps around the surface of the catalytic domain with the two domains connected by a 24-residue flexible linker that passes through the substrate-binding groove. The proenzyme structure reveals suboptimal catalytic triad geometry with its propiece linker partially blocking the substrate-binding site, which together serve to prevent premature activation of the protease. Finally, we have identified numerous processing intermediates and propose a structural model that explains the pathway for TPP1 activation in vitro. These data provide new insights into TPP1 function and represent a valuable resource for constructing improved TPP1 variants for treatment of late infantile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis.