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Pancreas. 2001 Mar;22(2):186-92.

Conformational changes of pancreatitis-associated protein (PAP) activated by trypsin lead to insoluble protein aggregates.

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Pankreatitis-Forschungslabor, Departement Chirurgie, Universit├Ątsspital Z├╝rich, Switzerland.


Pancreatitis-associated protein (PAP), a secretory acute-phase protein of the pancreatic acinar cell, is highly up-regulated early in acute pancreatitis. PAP expression returns to undetectable levels when the pancreas recovers. In the rat, three isoforms of PAP are known, all of which are upregulated during acute pancreatitis. Their functions remain obscure. Pancreatic stone protein (PSP/reg), which shows strong sequence homology to PAP, is secreted into pancreatic juice under physiologic and pathologic conditions. PSP/reg is highly susceptible to trypsin cleavage at its ARG11-ILE12 bond. Cleavage results in an N-terminal undecapeptide and a C-terminal peptide called pancreatic thread protein (PTP). PTP forms oligomeric fibrillar structures, which spontaneously sediment in vitro. PTP can be found in protein plugs or stones from patients with chronic pancreatitis. Rat PAP contains a trypsin cleavage site at the same position as PSP/reg. We hypothesize that PAP is susceptible to tryptic cleavage, and that the C-terminal cleavage product of PAP spontaneously precipitates at neutral pH. To test our hypothesis, we generated and purified recombinant PAP. Here we report the production of rat PAP I, II, and III in a yeast expression system using Pichia pastoris. We demonstrate in vitro the tryptic cleavage of rat PAP and the formation of a spontaneously precipitating peptide, which we call pancreatitis-associated thread protein (PATP). PATP displays pH-dependent solubility characteristics very similar to those of PTP.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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