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Prostate. 1999 Apr 1;39(1):28-35.

Characterization of the enzymatic activity of PSM: comparison with brain NAALADase.

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Guilford Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Baltimore, Maryland 21224, USA.



The prostate cancer marker prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSM) is highly homologous to the brain enzyme N-acetylated alpha-linked acidic dipeptidase (NAALADase). NAALADase is known to cleave terminal carboxy glutamates from both the neuronal peptide N-acetylaspartylglutamate (NAAG) and folate polyglutamate. In this report, we compare the NAAG hydrolyzing activity of NAALADase and the prostate enzyme PSM.


Using a NAAG hydrolytic radioenzymatic assay, we compared the pharmacological and kinetic properties of the brain and prostate enzymes.


Eight normal prostate tissues from different species exhibited NAAG hydrolyzing activity. Among 14 cancer cell lines examined, activity was observed in human LNCaP, PC-82, and rat Dunning G and AT-1 cells. Brain exhibited membrane-localized activity exclusively, while the prostate enzyme had activity in both membrane and cytosolic fractions. The only observed pharmacological difference was the sensitivity to their putative substrates, folate polyglutamate and NAAG. Kinetically, the soluble form of the prostate enzyme had two catalytic sites, while the membrane-bound form exhibited single site kinetics with a lower Vmax than the brain enzyme, which may suggest a less active hydrolase in the prostate.


The brain enzyme NAALADase and the prostate enzyme PSM are remarkably similar. The importance of the differences in substrate specificities and kinetic parameters remains to be elucidated.

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