Leader Peptidase A - Activity


LepA exhibits uncoupled GTPase activity. This activity is stimulated by the ribosome to the same extent as the activity of EF-G, which is known to have the strongest ribosome-dependent GTPase activity among all characterized G proteins involved in translation. Conversely, uncoupled GTPase activity occurs when the ribosome stimulation of GTP cleavage is not directly dependent on protein synthesis. In the presence of GTP, LepA works catalytically. On the other hand, in the presence of the nonhydrolysable GTP – GDPNP – the LepA action becomes stoichiometric, saturating at about one molecule per 70S ribosomes. This data demonstrates that GTP cleavage is required for dissociation of LepA from the ribosome, which is demonstrative of a typical G protein. At low concentrations of LepA (less than or equal to 3 molecules per 70S ribosome), LepA specifically recognizes incorrectly translocated ribsosomes, back-translocates them, and thus allows EF-G to have a second chance to catalyze the correct translocation reaction. At high concentrations (about 1 molecule per 70S ribosome), LepA loses its specificity and back-translocates every POST ribosome. This places the translational machinery in a nonreproductive mode. This explains the toxicity of LepA when it is found in a cell in high concentrations. Hence, at low concentrations LepA significantly improves the yield and activity of synthesized proteins; however, at high concentrations LepA is toxic to cells.

Additionally, LepA has an effect on peptide bond formation. Through various studies in which functional derivatives of ribosomes were mixed with puromycin (an analog of the 3' end of an aa-tRNA) it was determined that adding LepA to a post transcriptionally modified ribosome prevents dipeptide formation as it inhibits the binding of aa-tRNA to the A site.

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