A new type of neuron-specific aminopeptidase NAP-2 in rat brain synaptosomes

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A novel neutral aminopeptidase (NAP-2) was found exclusively in the rat central nervous system (CNS). It was separated from the ubiquitous puromycin-sensitive aminopeptidase (PSA) and the neuron-specific aminopeptidase (NAP) by an automated FPLC-aminopeptidase analyzer. The activity of the neuronal aminopeptidase enriched in the synaptosomes is different from NAP and PSA in distribution and during brain development. The enzyme was purified 2230-fold to apparent homogeneity from rat brain cytosol with 4% recovery by ammonium sulfate fractionation, followed by column chromatography successively on Phenyl-Sepharose, Q-Sepharose, Sephadex G-200, and Mono Q. The single-chain enzyme with a molecular mass of 110 kDa has an optimal pH of 7.0 and a pI of 5.6. It splits β-naphthylamides of amino acid with aliphatic, polar uncharged, positively charged, and aromatic side chain. Leucyl β-naphthylamide (Leu βNA) is the best substrate with the highest hydrolytic coefficiency followed by Met βNA = Arg βNA = Lys βNA > Ala βNA > Tyr βNA > Phe βNA. The cysteine-, metallo-, glyco-aminopeptidase releases the N-terminal Tyr from Leu-enkephalin with a Km 82 μM and a kcat of 1.08 s−1, and Met-enkephalin with a Km of 106 μM and a kcat of 2.6 s−1. The puromycin-sensitive enzyme is most susceptible to amastatin with an IC50 of 0.05 μM. The data indicate that the enzyme is a new type of NAP found in rodent. Its possible function in neuron growth, neurodegeneration, and carcinomas is discussed.

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