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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1983 Feb 22;755(3):369-75.

Characterization of a latent cysteine proteinase from ascitic fluid as a high molecular weight form of cathepsin B.


The latent cysteine proteinase present in ascitic fluid of patients with neoplasia and released from ascites cells in culture has been partially purified and the enzyme after pepsin activation was shown to be immunologically related to the lysosomal proteinase, cathepsin B. The latent form was characterized as a single chain of Mr 40 000 as determined by SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis under reducing conditions followed by Western blotting and immune staining with an antiserum to human cathepsin B. Using the same techniques the enzyme after pepsin activation gave a single band of Mr 33 000. Analysis by isoelectric focusing showed that the latent enzyme before and after pepsin treatment is composed of several acidic isoenzymes. These findings suggest that this latent proteinase represents a precursor form of cathepsin B which is released extracellularly rather than being processed and directed to the lysosome.

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