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J Biol Chem. 1988 Jan 25;263(3):1231-9.

Identification of a novel class of elastase isozyme, human pancreatic elastase III, by cDNA and genomic gene cloning.

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Bioscience Research Laboratories, Sankyo Co., Ltd., Tokyo, Japan.


By using porcine elastase I cDNA as a probe, we have isolated two different but closely related cDNAs encoding elastase-like proteases from a human pancreatic cDNA library. The amino acid sequences deduced from the cloned cDNA sequences showed 56-61% identity with those of both pancreatic elastases I and II, similar to the homology between elastases I and II. The active form of the elastase-like proteases appeared to be composed of 242 amino acids and preceded by a signal peptide and propeptide of 28 amino acids. Dot blot analysis of various tissue mRNAs demonstrated that the genes for the cloned cDNAs are expressed at a high level only in the pancreas. In addition, sequence analysis of the cloned genomic genes corresponding to one of the cDNAs showed that they are members of the elastase gene family. These results indicate that the two enzymes encoded by the cDNAs should be classified into a third class of elastase isozyme. Therefore, we designated them as human pancreatic elastases IIIA and IIIB. They strongly resembled cholesterol-binding pancreatic protease, suggesting that they may possess not only a digestive function but also function(s) related to cholesterol metabolism or transport in the intestine.

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