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J Biol Chem. 1995 Feb 17;270(7):3268-77.

CXC chemokines connective tissue activating peptide-III and neutrophil activating peptide-2 are heparin/heparan sulfate-degrading enzymes.

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  • 1Units of Cancer & Infectious Disease, Upjohn Company, Kalamazoo, Michigan 49001.


Heparan sulfate proteoglycans at cell surfaces or in extracellular matrices bind diverse molecules, including growth factors and cytokines, and it is believed that the activities of these molecules may be regulated by the metabolism of heparan sulfate. In this study, purification of a heparan sulfate-degrading enzyme from human platelets led to the discovery that the enzymatic activity residues in at least two members of the platelet basic protein (PBP) family known as connective tissue activating peptide-III (CTAP-III) and neutrophil activating peptide-2. PBP and its N-truncated derivatives, CTAP-III and neutrophil activating peptide-2, are CXC chemokines, a group of molecules involved in inflammation and wound healing. SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis analysis of the purified heparanase resulted in a single broad band at 8-10 kDa, the known molecular weight of PBP and its truncated derivatives. Gel filtration chromatography of heparanase resulted in peaks of activity corresponding to monomers, dimers, and tetramers; these higher order aggregates are known to form among the chemokines. N-terminal sequence analysis of the same preparation indicated that only PBP and truncated derivatives were present, and commercial CTAP-III from three suppliers had heparanase activity. Antisera produced in animals immunized with a C-terminal synthetic peptide of PBP inhibited heparanase activity by 95%, compared with activity of the purified enzyme in the presence of the preimmune sera. The synthetic peptide also inhibited heparanase by 95% at 250 microM, compared to the 33% inhibition of heparanase activity by two other peptides. The enzyme was determined to be an endoglucosaminidase, and it degraded both heparin and heparan sulfate with optimal activity at pH 5.8. Chromatofocusing of the purified heparanase resulted in two protein peaks: an inactive peak at pI7.3, and an active peak at pI 4.8-5.1. Sequence analysis showed that the two peaks contained identical protein, suggesting that a post-translational modification activates the enzyme.

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