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Biochem J. 1987 Dec 15;248(3):821-7.

Regulation of human mast cell tryptase. Effects of enzyme concentration, ionic strength and the structure and negative charge density of polysaccharides.

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Department of Medicine, Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond 23298.


Tryptase was previously shown to undergo rapid inactivation under physiological conditions unless stabilized by the presence of heparin. The current study shows that increasing the concentration of free tryptase enhances the preservation of enzymic activity, consistent with dissociation of the tetramer, rather than autodegradation, as the mechanism of inactivation. Heparin glycosaminoglycan fragments of Mr greater than 5700 are necessary for complete stabilization of tryptase activity. This stabilizing effect depends upon negative charge density rather than carbohydrate composition. Thus, keratan sulphate or hyaluronic acid were no better than physiological buffer alone; chondroitin monosulphates and heparan sulphate each prolonged the t1/2 about 20-fold over buffer alone; chondroitin sulphate E prolonged the t1/2 69-fold; and dextran sulphate and heparin provided complete stabilization of tryptase activity for 120 min. Poly-D-glutamic acid prolonged the t1/2 55-fold. In each case the loss of tryptase activity followed apparent first-order kinetics. Increasing the NaCl concentration from 0.01 M to 1.0 M increased the stability of free tryptase. In contrast, increasing the NaCl concentration in the presence of stabilizing polysaccharides decreased the stability of tryptase until dissociation of tryptase from each polysaccharide presumably occurred; thereafter tryptase stability increased as did that of free tryptase. The effect of salt concentration on heparin-stabilized tryptase activity (as opposed to stability) was also evaluated. The mast cell proteoglycans heparin and chondroitin sulphate E, by virtue of containing the naturally occurring glycosaminoglycans of highest negative charge density, may play a major role in the regulation of mast cell tryptase activity in vivo.

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