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Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2005 Nov;37(11):2333-43.

Characterization of mouse glandular kallikrein 24 expressed in testicular Leydig cells.

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Division of Biological Sciences, Graduate School of Science, Hokkaido University, Nishi-8, Kita-ku, Sapporo, 060-0810, Japan.


Mouse kallikrein 24 is thought to encode a functional serine protease belonging to the mouse glandular kallikrein gene family. Preliminary results suggest that this kallikrein may play a role in testis function in adult mice. In order to obtain insights into its physiological functions, we undertook molecular and biochemical analyses of this enzyme. We cloned a cDNA for kallikrein 24 from the adult mouse testis cDNA library. Kallikrein 24 was expressed in the kidney, submandibular glands, ovary, epididymis, and testis of the mouse. In the testis, kallikrein 24 mRNA was detectable at 4 weeks of postnatal development, and became more prominent thereafter. The kallikrein 24 gene was expressed exclusively in the Leydig cells of adult mice. When Leydig cells isolated from a 2-week-old mouse testis were cultured in the presence of testosterone, kallikrein 24 expression was induced. Active recombinant enzyme showed trypsin-like specificity, favorably cleaving Arg-X bonds of synthetic peptide substrates. The enzymatic activity was strongly inhibited by typical serine protease inhibitors. Mouse kallikrein 24 degraded casein, gelatin, fibronectin and laminin. These results suggest that the enzyme may play a role in the degradation of extracellular matrix proteins in the interstitial area surrounding the Leydig cells of the adult mouse testis. The present findings should contribute to future physiological studies of this mouse testis protease.

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