Angiotensin-I Converting Enzyme (ACE) is a Zinc Metallopeptidase of which the three-dimensional stucture was unknown until recently, when the Xray structure of testis isoform (C-terminal domain of somatic) was determined. ACE plays an important role in the regulation of blood pressure due to its action in the frame of the Renin-Angiotensin System. Efforts for the specific inhibition of the catalytic function of this enzyme have been made on the basis of the Xray structures of other enzymes with analogous efficacy in the hydrolytic cleavage of peptide substrate terminal fragments. Angiotensin-I Converting Enzyme bears the sequence and topology characteristics of the well-known gluzincins, a sub-family of zincins metallopeptidases and these similarities are exploited in order to reveal common structural elements among these enzymes. 3D homology models are also built using the X-ray structure of Thermolysin as template and peptide models that represent the amino acid sequence of the ACEs two catalytic, zinc-containing sites are designed and synthesized. Conformational analysis of the zinc-free and zinc-bound peptides through high resolution 1H NMR Spectroscopy provides new insights into the solution structure of ACE catalytic centers. Structural properties of these peptides could provide valuable information towards the design and preparation of new potent ACE inhibitors.
Keywords: Angiotensin-I Converting Enzyme, Angiotensin-I, ACE inhibitors
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