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Pharmacol Ther. 2000 Mar;85(3):207-15.

Glutamyl hydrolase. pharmacological role and enzymatic characterization.

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Division of Molecular Medicine, Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health, Albany, NY, USA.


gamma-Glutamyl hydrolase (GH, EC is a lysosomal and secreted glycoprotein that hydrolyzes the gamma-glutamyl tail of antifolate and folate polyglutamates. Tumor cells that have high levels of GH are inherently resistant to classical antifolates, and further resistance can be acquired by elevations in GH following exposure to this class of antitumor agents. The highest level of expression in normal tissues occurs in the liver and kidney in humans. When panels of tumors are compared with normal tissues, GH expression is elevated in cancerous hepatic and breast tissue. A second poly-gamma-glutamate hydrolyzing enzyme, glutamate carboxypeptidase II, is a transmembrane protein whose active site is on the outside of the cell, occurring in the prostate gland, small intestine, brain, kidney, and tumor neovasculature. It is a high-affinity (nanomolar), low-turnover, zinc co-catalytic enzyme. In contrast, GH is a low-affinity (micromolar), high-turnover enzyme that has a cysteine at the active site. Data are presented suggesting that Cys110 is the nucleophile that attacks the gamma-amide linkage and causes hydrolysis. GH is being evaluated as an intracellular target for inhibition in order to enhance the therapeutic activity of antifolates and fluorouracil.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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