MPŠ MP&Scaron MP&Scaron MP&Scaron Avtorji

Jožef Stefan
Postgraduate School

Jamova 39
SI-1000 Ljubljana

Phone: +386 1 477 31 00
Fax: +386 1 477 31 10


Course Description



Nanosciences and Nanotechnologies, third-level study programme


prof. dr. Vito Turk


The aim is to acquaint students with the process of proteolysis which has a key role in the degradation of proteins in normal and pathological states. Emphasis will be placed on the knowledge of individual classes of proteolytic enzymes, their characterization, structure and biological properties.


Introduction to proteolysis: basics of proteolysis and its role in physiology
• Classification of proteolytic enzymes
• Preparation, purification and characterization of proteolytic enzymes: recombinant production vs. purification from natural sources, analytical and preparative methods, catalytic activities, …
• Analytical nanomethods for the identification of proteins and peptides
• Structure and mechanism of action of proteases
• Protease inhibitors: natural and synthetic
• Intracellular and extracellular proteolysis, the prevention of unwanted proteolysis
• Role of the proteolytic enzymes in disease: cancer, inflammation, neurodegeneration, cardiovascular diseases.

Course literature:

A. J. Barrett, N. D. Rawlings, J. F. Woessner: Handbook of proteolytic enzymes, Elsevier, Academic Press, 2004, 2nd Edition

R. Beynon, J. S. Bond: Proteolytic Enzymes, 2nd Edition, Oxford Univ. Press, 2001

Relevant current articles from the field (Nature, Science, Cell, Nature Reviews, …)

Significant publications and references:

Cirman, T., Oresic, K., Droga-Mazovec, G., Turk, V., Reed, J.C., Myers, R.M., Salvesen, G.S., Turk, B. (2004)

Selective disruption of lysosomes in HeLa cells triggers apoptosis, mediated by cleavage of Bid by multiple papain-like lysosomal cathepsins. J. Biol. Chem. 279, 3578-3587.

Droga-Mazovec, G., Bojič, L., Petelin, A., Ivanova, S., Romih, R., Repnik, U., Salvesen, G.S., Stoka, V., Turk, V., Turk, B. (2008) Cysteine cathepsins trigger caspase-dependent cell death through cleavage of Bid and antiapoptotic Bcl-2 homologues. J. Biol. Chem. 283, 19140-19150.

V. Turk: Proteases – New perspectives, Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel, (1999)

V. Turk, W. Bode: The Cystatins: Protein Inhibitors of Cysteine Proteinases, FEBS Lett., 285, 213-219 (1991)

T. Bevec, V. Stoka, G. Pungerčič, I. Dolenc in V. Turk: MHC class II-associated p41 invariant chain fragment is a strong inhibitor of lysosomal cathepsin L. J. Exp. Med., 183, 1331-1338 (1996)

V. Turk, B. Turk in D. Turk: Lysosomal cysteine proteases: facts and opportunities, EMBO J., 20, 4629-4633, (2001)

B. Lenarčič, A. Ritonja, B. Štrukelj, B. Turk in V. Turk: Equistatin, a new inhibitor of cysteine proteinases from Actinia equina, is structuraly related to thyroglobulin type-1 domain. J. Biol. Chem., 272, 13899-13903 (1997)

V. Turk, B. Turk, G. Gunčar, D. Turk in J. Kos: Lysosomal cathepsins: structure, role in antigen processing and presentation, and cancer. Advances in Enzyme Regulation (2002)


• seminar and oral exam

Students obligations:

• seminar and oral exam