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Neurochem Int. 2008 Dec;53(6-8):317-24. doi: 10.1016/j.neuint.2008.09.003. Epub 2008 Sep 11.

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

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  • 1Neurochemistry Division, Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, Orangeburg, NY 10962, USA.


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 110kDa has an optimal pH of 7.0 and a pI of 5.6. It splits beta-naphthylamides of amino acid with aliphatic, polar uncharged, positively charged, and aromatic side chain. Leucyl beta-naphthylamide (Leu betaNA) is the best substrate with the highest hydrolytic coefficiency followed by Met betaNA=Arg betaNA=Lys betaNA>Ala betaNA>Tyr betaNA>Phe betaNA. The cysteine-, metallo-, glyco-aminopeptidase releases the N-terminal Tyr from Leu-enkephalin with a K(m) 82microM and a k(cat) of 1.08s(-1), and Met-enkephalin with a K(m) of 106microM and a k(cat) of 2.6s(-1). The puromycin-sensitive enzyme is most susceptible to amastatin with an IC(50) of 0.05microM. 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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