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Biochem J. 1987 Jul 15;245(2):381-5.

Enzyme-substrate interactions in the hydrolysis of peptides by cathepsins B and H from rat liver.

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Institute of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, German Democratic Republic.


The number of possible subsites of the rat liver cysteine proteinases cathepsin B and cathepsin H was determined in the N-terminal direction from the scissile bond. An elongation of the substrate peptide chain of up to four amino acid residues enhances the hydrolysis rate of both cathepsins. The greatest increase in activity was observed by elongation to the dipeptide substrate for cathepsin B and to the tetrapeptide substrate for cathepsin H. Both proteinases discriminate proline from their subsites S1 and S2, but accept it well in S3. A quantitative distinction between the endopeptidase and the peptidyl dipeptidase activity of cathepsin B was feasible by using two model peptides: (Formula: see text) (Z = benzyloxycarbonyl; X = NH2 or OH; the arrow shows the cleavage site). Whereas the peptide acid, representing the peptidyl dipeptidase substrate, was hydrolysed by cathepsin B twice as fast as the peptide amide as an endopeptidase substrate, cathepsin H clearly had a preference for the amide substrate.

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