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

Soluble metalloendopeptidase from rat brain: action on enkephalin-containing peptides and other bioactive peptides.

A soluble metalloendopeptidase identified in rat brain, preferentially cleaves bonds in peptides having hydrophobic amino acid residues in the P1, P2, and P3' positions. (The nomenclature of T. Schechter and A. Berger is used to describe the interaction between enzyme and substrate. The amino acid residues in the substrate are designated as P1, P2, P3 etc. in the N-terminal direction and P1', P2', P3' etc. in the C-terminal direction from the bond undergoing cleavage. The corresponding subsites in the enzyme are identified by the letter S.) The degradation of a series of biologically active peptides and their affinity toward the enzyme was studied. Dynorphin-(1-8), alpha-neo-endorphin, and beta-neo-endorphin are rapidly hydrolyzed to form leu-enkephalin, whereas bovine adrenal medulla dodecapeptide is hydrolyzed to form met-enkephalin. The enzyme, however, does not cleave a larger precursor molecule of metenkephalin, such as bovine adrenal medulla docosapeptide. Several other bioactive peptides are also cleaved at sites consistent with our previously reported specificity studies. Met- and leu-enkephalin are resistant to hydrolysis. The binding affinity [as expressed by inhibitory constant (Ki) or Michaelis-Menten constant (Km) values] of several bioactive peptides such as dynorphin-(1-8), beta-neo-endorphin, neurotensin, angiotensin I, and bradykinin was found to be in the micromolar range. These peptides were also rapidly hydrolyzed by the enzyme, showing, as a result, high specificity constants (kcat/Km values). The highest enzyme activity was found in brain, testis, and in the anterior and posterior lobes of the pituitary, while the activity in such tissues as spleen, liver, kidney, lung, adrenals, and thyroid amounted to only 10-20% of that found in brain. This distribution of enzyme activity, together with its preference for oligopeptides as substrates, its ability to generate leu- and met-enkephalin from several larger peptide precursors, and its affinity toward several other bioactive peptides, suggests that the enzyme functions in the metabolism of neuropeptides.[1]


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