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Hypertension. 2008 Feb;51(2):267-74. Epub 2007 Dec 24.

Angiotensin-converting enzyme C-terminal catalytic domain is the main site of angiotensin I cleavage in vivo.

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  • 1Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, USA.


Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) plays a central role in the production of the vasoconstrictor angiotensin II. ACE is a single polypeptide, but it contains 2 homologous and independent catalytic domains, each of which binds zinc. To understand the in vivo role of these 2 domains, we used gene targeting to create mice with point mutations in the ACE C-domain zinc-binding motif. Such mice, termed ACE13/13, produce a full-length ACE protein with tissue expression identical to wild-type mice. Analysis of ACE13/13 mice showed that they produce ACE having only N-domain catalytic activity, as determined by the hydrolysis of domain specific substrates and by chloride sensitivity. ACE13/13 mice have blood pressure and blood angiotensin II levels similar to wild-type mice. However, plasma renin concentration is increased 2.6-fold and blood angiotensin I levels are increased 7.5-fold. Bradykinin peptide levels are not different from wild-type levels. ACE13/13 mice have a reduced increase of blood pressure after intravenous infusion of angiotensin I. ACE13/13 mice have a normal renal structure, but they are not able to concentrate urine after dehydration as effectively as wild-type mice. This study shows that the C-domain of ACE is the predominant site of angiotensin I cleavage in vivo. Although mice lacking C-domain activity have normal physiology under laboratory conditions, they respond less well to the stress of dehydration.

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