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FEBS Lett. 1994 Dec 19;356(2-3):238-43.

Molecular characterization of human and bovine endothelin converting enzyme (ECE-1).

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Department of Pharmaceutical Research, BASF Aktiengesellschaft, Ludwigshafen, Germany.


A membrane-bound protease activity that specifically converts Big endothelin-1 has been purified from bovine endothelial cells (FBHE). The enzyme was cleaved with trypsin and the peptide sequencing analysis confirmed it to be a zinc chelating metalloprotease containing the typical HEXXH (HELTH) motif. RT-PCR and cDNA screens were employed to isolate the complete cDNAs of the bovine and human enzymes. This human metalloprotease was expressed heterologously in cell culture and oocytes. The catalytic activity of the recombinant enzyme is the same as that determined for the natural enzyme. The data suggest that the characterized enzyme represents the functional human endothelin converting enzyme ECE-1.

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