The secretory proprotein convertase (PC) family comprises nine members, as follows: PC1/3, PC2, furin, PC4, PC5/6, paired basic amino acid cleaving enzyme 4, PC7, subtilisin kexin isozyme 1/site 1 protease (SKI-1/S1P), and PC subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9). The first seven PCs cleave their substrates at single/paired basic residues and exhibit specific and often essential functions during development and/or in adulthood. The essential SKI-1/S1P cleaves membrane-bound transcription factors at nonbasic residues. In contrast, PCSK9 cleaves itself once, and the secreted inactive protease drags the low-density lipoprotein receptors (LDLR) and very LDLR (VLDLR) to endosomal/lysosomal degradation. Inhibitory PCSK9 monoclonal antibodies are now prescribed to treat hypercholesterolemia. This review focuses on the implication of PCs in cardiovascular functions and diseases, with a major emphasis on PCSK9. We present a phylogeny of the PCs and the analysis of PCSK9 haplotypes in modern and archaic human species. The absence of PCSK9 in mice led to the discovery of a sex- and tissue-specific subcellular distribution of the LDLR and VLDLR. PCSK9 inhibition may have other applications because it reduces inflammation and sepsis in a LDLR-dependent manner. Our present understanding of the cellular mechanism(s) that enables PCSK9 to induce the degradation of receptors is reviewed, as well as the consequences of its key natural mutations. The PCSK9 ongoing clinical trials are reviewed. Finally, how the other PCs may impact cardiovascular disease and the metabolic syndrome, and become relevant targets, is discussed.
This work was supported by Canadian Institutes of Health Research [Grants MOP-102741 and CTP-82946]; Canada Research Chair 216684; and Leducq Foundation [Grant 13CVD03].
- Copyright © 2016 by The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics