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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Aug 14;98(17):9971-6. Epub 2001 Jul 31.

Identification of peptides from brain and pituitary of Cpe(fat)/Cpe(fat) mice.

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Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY 10461, USA.


Cpe(fat)/Cpe(fat) mice have a naturally occurring point mutation within the carboxypeptidase E gene that inactivates this enzyme, leading to an accumulation of many neuroendocrine peptides containing C-terminal basic residues. These processing intermediates can be readily purified on an anhydrotrypsin affinity resin. Using MS to obtain molecular mass and partial sequence information, more than 100 peptides have been identified. These peptides represent fragments of 16 known secretory pathway proteins, including proenkephalin, proopiomelanocortin, protachykinins A and B, chromogranin A and B, and secretogranin II. Many of the identified peptides represent previously uncharacterized fragments of the precursors. For example, 12 of the 13 chromogranin B-derived peptides found in the present study have not been previously reported. Of these 13 chromogranin B-derived peptides, only five contain consensus cleavage sites for prohormone convertases at both the C and N termini. Two distinct chromogranin B-derived peptides result from cleavage at Trp-Trp bonds, a site not typically associated with neuropeptide processing. An RIA was used to confirm that one of these peptides, designated WE-15, exists in wild-type mouse brain, thus validating the approach to identify peptides in Cpe(fat)/Cpe(fat) mice. These "orphan" peptides are candidate ligands for orphan G protein-coupled receptors. In addition, the general technique of using affinity chromatography to isolate endogenous substrates from a mutant organism lacking an enzyme should be applicable to a wide range of enzyme-substrate systems.

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