In order to clarify the potential role of cathepsin E at neutral pH, the cleavage specificity of human cathepsin E was examined at pH 7.4 toward reduced-carboxymethylated(RCm-)ribonuclease A and various bioactive and related peptides. The specificity of the enzyme at pH 7.4 was found to be considerably different from that at acidic pH preferential cleavages were observed with Arg-X and Glu-X bonds, which are not the major cleavage sites at acidic pH. Moreover, the Arg-Arg bond was found to be the most preferential site of cleavage. This unique specificity observed at pH 7.4 suggests the possibility that cathepsin E might be involved in processing and/or degradation of certain proteins and / or peptides at or near neutral pH in vivo.
Keywords: Cathepsin E, RCm-ribonuclease, Tyr-X bonds, Lys-Lys bonds, Glu-X bonds
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