Employing soluble denatured protein substrates and their derivatives, the proteolytic activity of rat cathepsin H was investigated. The enzyme showed aminopeptidase activity which sequentially released amino acid from the N-terminal of the substrate. The aminopeptidase activity did not act on Na-acetylated peptides and showed moderate ionic-strength dependence when methionyl-methylcoumarylamide was employed as a substrate. These results indicate that the activity essentially requires an N-terminal free amino group of the substrate and recognizes it electrostatically to some extent. On the other hand, the enzyme was also indicated to exhibit endopeptidase activity by employing appropriate Na-acetylated peptide substrates. In contrast to the aminopeptidase activity, the endopeptidase activity showed rather strict specificity, preferring hydrophobic residues at P2 and P3 sites. Because of the broad specificity and high efficiency of the aminopeptidase activity, it was difficult to directly observe endopeptidase activity in the digestion of large peptide substrates with a free a-amino terminal. Thus, this is the first experimental evidence that indicates endopeptidase activity by assigning internal peptide bonds cleaved by this activity. From this data, we proposed a model of the binding site of this enzyme.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Drug Discovery