Angiotensin I-converting enzyme (ACE), a key enzyme in cardiovascular pathophysiology, consists of two homologous domains (N and C), each bearing a Zn-dependent active site. We modeled the SD-structure of the ACE N-domain using known structures of the C-domain of human ACE and the ACE homologue, ACE2, as templates. Two monoclonal antibodies (mAb), 3A5 and i2H5, developed against the human N-domain of ACE, demonstrated anticatalytic activity. N-domain modeling and mutagenesis of 21 amino acid residues allowed us to define the epitopes for these mAbs. Their epitopes partially overlap: amino acid residues K407, E403, Y521, E522, G523, P524, D529 are present in both epitopes. Mutation of 4 amino acid residues within the 3A5 epitope, N203E, R550A, D558L, and K557Q, increased the apparent binding of mAb 3A5 with the mutated N-domain 3-fold in plate precipitation assay, but abolished the inhibitory potency of this mAb. Moreover, mutation D558L dramatically decreased 3A5-induced ACE shedding from the surface of CHO cells expressing human somatic ACE. The inhibition of N-domain activity by mAbs 3A5 and i2H5 obeys similar kinetics. Both mAbs can bind to the free enzyme and enzyme-substrate complex, forming E-mAb and E·S·mAb complexes, respectively; however, only complex E·S can form a product. Kinetic analysis indicates that both mAbs bind better with the ACE N-domain in the presence of a substrate, which, in turn, implies that binding of a substrate causes conformational adjustments in the N-domain structure. Independent experiments with ELISA demonstrated better binding of mAbs 3A5 and i2H5 in the presence of the inhibitor lisinopril as well. This effect can be attributed to better binding of both mAbs with the "closed" conformation of ACE, therefore, disturbing the hinge-bending movement of the enzyme, which is necessary for catalysis.
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