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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Altered storage of proteases in mast cells from mice lacking heparin: a possible role for heparin in carboxypeptidase A processing.

Heparin-deficient mice, generated by gene targeting of N-deacetylase/N-sulfotransferase-2 (NDST-2), display severe mast cell defects, including an absence of stored mast cell proteases. However, the mechanism behind these observations is not clear. Here we show that NDST-2+/+ bone marrow-derived mast cells cultured in the presence of IL-3 synthesise, in addition to highly sulphated chondroitin sulphate (CS), small amounts of equally highly sulphated heparin-like polysaccharide. The corresponding NDST-2-/- cells produced highly sulphated CS only. Carboxypeptidase A ( CPA) activity was detected in NDST+/+ cells but was almost absent in the NDST-/- cells, whereas tryptase (mouse mast cell protease 6; mMCP-6) activity and antigen was detected in both cell types. Antigen for the chymase mMCP-5 was detected in NDST-2+/+ cells but not in the heparin-deficient cells. Northern blot analysis revealed mRNA expression of CPA, mMCP-5 and mMCP-6 in both wild-type and NDST-2-/- cells. A approximately 36 kDa CPA band, corresponding to proteolytically processed active CPA, as well as a approximately 50 kDa pro- CPA band was present in NDST-2+/+ cells. The NDST-2-/- mast cells contained similar levels of pro- CPA as the wild-type mast cells, but the approximately 36 kDa band was totally absent. This indicates that the processing of pro- CPA to its active form may require the presence of heparin and provides the first insight into a mechanism by which the absence of heparin may cause disturbed secretory granule organisation in mast cells.[1]


  1. Altered storage of proteases in mast cells from mice lacking heparin: a possible role for heparin in carboxypeptidase A processing. Henningsson, F., Ledin, J., Lunderius, C., Wilén, M., Hellman, L., Pejler, G. Biol. Chem. (2002) [Pubmed]
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