RNKP-1 a novel natural killer-associated serine protease gene cloned from RNK-16 cytotoxic lymphocytes

Susan J. Zunino, R. Chris Bleackley, Jesse Martinez, Dorothy Hudig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


From an RNK-16 λ-gt11 library, we have isolated and sequenced a novel cDNA rat NK cell protease 1 (RNKP-1) that has characteristics unique to serine proteases. The cDNA clone is 1102 bp and contains a complete open reading frame with an AUG start codon and a TAA stop codon. The open reading frame translates into a protein of 248 amino acids that has one glycosylation site. The characteristic N-terminal Ile-Ile-Gly-Gly and the His, Asp, and Ser amino acid residues that form the catalytic triad of serine proteases are present. The nucleotide and amino acid sequences have 87 and 80% identity, respectively, with the murine CTL-specific serine protease CCPI. However, there are extensive differences in the substrate binding regions of these proteases. Comparison of hydropathic profiles and amino acid sequences of other proteases indicate that RNKP-1 is distinct and belongs to the subfamily of serine proteases of bone marrow origin. Northern blot analysis of poly A+ RNA from rat splenocytes cultured with Con A showed 1000 and 1400 nucleotide mRNA are detected with RNKP-1 after 1 day of Con A-stimulation. The expression of the two mRNA bands continues through day 5 of culture with the lectin and may represent RNKP-1 mRNA plus related sequences due to cross-hybridization. RNKP-1 is also expressed in RNK-16 cells, but is not expressed in freshly isolated rat splenocytes, brain, lung, or lymph node tissues. The induction of RNKP-1 expression in the Con A-cultured spleen cells is accompanied by increases in both NK and lymphokine-activated killer lymphocyte activities. These data indicate that RNKP-1 is a unique serine protease that may be preferentially expressed in NK cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2001-2009
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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