House dust mite (HDM) protease allergens, through cleavages of critical surface proteins, drastically influence the initiation of the Th2 type immune responses. However, few human protein substrates for HDM proteases have been identified so far, mainly by applying time-consuming target-specific individual studies. Therefore, the identification of substrate repertoires for HDM proteases would represent an unprecedented key step toward a better understanding of the mechanism ofHDMallergic response. In this study, phage display screenings using totally or partially randomized nonameric peptide substrate libraries were performed to characterize the extended substrate specificities (P5–P4ʹ) of the HDM proteases Der p 1, Der p 3 and Der p 6. The bioinformatics interface PoPS (Prediction of Protease Specificity) was then applied to define the proteolytic specificity profile of each protease and to predict new protein substrates within the human cell surface proteome, with a special focus on immune receptors. Specificity profiling showed that the nature of residues in P1 but also downstream the cleavage sites (Pʹ positions) are important for effective cleavages by all three HDM proteases. Strikingly, Der p 1 and Der p 3 display partially overlapping specificities. Analysis with PoPS interface predicted 50 new targets for the HDM proteases, including 21 cell surface receptors whose extracellular domains are potentially cleaved by Der p 1, Der p 3 and/or Der p 6. Twelve protein substrate candidates were confirmed by phage ELISA (enzyme linked immunosorbent assay). This extensive study of the natural protein substrate specificities of the HDM protease allergens unveils new cell surface target receptors for a better understanding on the role of these proteases in the HDM allergic response and paves the way for the design of specific protease inhibitors for future anti-allergic treatments.
- Cell surface proteome
- Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus
- House dust mite
- Phage display
- Phage substrate