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      Cathepsin L in secretory vesicles functions as a prohormone-processing enzyme for production of the enkephalin peptide neurotransmitter

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          Abstract

          Multistep proteolytic mechanisms are essential for converting proprotein precursors into active peptide neurotransmitters and hormones. Cysteine proteases have been implicated in the processing of proenkephalin and other neuropeptide precursors. Although the papain family of cysteine proteases has been considered the primary proteases of the lysosomal degradation pathway, more recent studies indicate that functions of these enzymes are linked to specific biological processes. However, few protein substrates have been described for members of this family. We show here that secretory vesicle cathepsin L is the responsible cysteine protease of chromaffin granules for converting proenkephalin to the active enkephalin peptide neurotransmitter. The cysteine protease activity was identified as cathepsin L by affinity labeling with an activity-based probe for cysteine proteases followed by mass spectrometry for peptide sequencing. Production of [Met]enkephalin by cathepsin L occurred by proteolytic processing at dibasic and monobasic prohormone-processing sites. Cellular studies showed the colocalization of cathepsin L with [Met]enkephalin in secretory vesicles of neuroendocrine chromaffin cells by immunofluorescent confocal and immunoelectron microscopy. Functional localization of cathepsin L to the regulated secretory pathway was demonstrated by its cosecretion with [Met]enkephalin. Finally, in cathepsin L gene knockout mice, [Met]enkephalin levels in brain were reduced significantly; this occurred with an increase in the relative amounts of enkephalin precursor. These findings indicate a previously uncharacterized biological role for secretory vesicle cathepsin L in the production of [Met]enkephalin, an endogenous peptide neurotransmitter.

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          Most cited references 26

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          Molecular mechanisms and regulation of opioid receptor signaling.

          Cloning of multiple opioid receptors has presented opportunities to investigate the mechanisms of multiple opioid receptor signaling and the regulation of these signals. The subsequent identification of receptor gene structures has also provided opportunities to study the regulation of receptor gene expression and to manipulate the concentration of the gene products in vivo. Thus, in the current review, we examine recent advances in the delineation basis for the multiple opioid receptor signaling, and their regulation at multiple levels. We discuss the use of receptor knockout animals to investigate the function and the pharmacology of these multiple opioid receptors. The reasons and basis for the multiple opioid receptor are addressed.
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            Epoxide electrophiles as activity-dependent cysteine protease profiling and discovery tools.

            Analysis of global changes in gene transcription and translation by systems-based genomics and proteomics approaches provides only indirect information about protein function. In many cases, enzymatic activity fails to correlate with transcription or translation levels. Therefore, a direct method for broadly determining activities of an entire class of enzymes on a genome-wide scale would be of great utility. We have engineered chemical probes that can be used to broadly track activity of cysteine proteases. The structure of the general cysteine protease inhibitor E-64 was used as a scaffold. Analogs were synthesized by varying the core peptide recognition portion while adding affinity tags (biotin and radio-iodine) at distal sites. The resulting probes containing a P2 leucine residue (DCG-03 and DCG-04) targeted the same broad set of cysteine proteases as E-64 and were used to profile these proteases during the progression of a normal skin cell to a carcinoma. A library of DCG-04 derivatives was constructed in which the leucine residue was replaced with all natural amino acids. This library was used to obtain inhibitor activity profiles for multiple protease targets in crude cellular extracts. Finally, the affinity tag of DCG-04 allowed purification of modified proteases and identification by mass spectrometry. We have created a simple and flexible method for functionally identifying cysteine proteases while simultaneously tracking their relative activity levels in crude protein mixtures. These probes were used to determine relative activities of multiple proteases throughout a defined model system for cancer progression. Furthermore, information obtained from libraries of affinity probes provides a rapid method for obtaining detailed functional information without the need for prior purification/identification of targets.
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              Pharmacological mechanisms of opioid analgesics.

               G. Pasternak (1993)
              The description of multiple classes of opioid receptors has had a major impact on our understanding of the mechanisms of analgesia. Three major classes of opioid receptors have been defined: mu, kappa, and delta. The mu receptors have been further subclassified into two distinct subtypes (mu 1 and mu 2), as have the delta receptors (delta 1 and delta 2). Kappa receptors have been subdivided into kappa 1, kappa 2, or kappa 3 subtypes. All of these subtypes modulate pain perception, with the exception of the kappa 2 receptor, which has not been adequately examined. Supraspinal systems have been described for mu 1, kappa 3, and delta 2 receptors while mu 2, kappa 1, and delta 1 receptors modulate pain at the spinal level. In addition to their ability to act independently, the various systems also interact synergistically with each other. Thus, the relief of pain involves the complex interaction of at least six receptor systems. This review discusses the implications of opiate receptor multiplicity on the control of pain.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                0027-8424
                1091-6490
                May 01 2011
                August 05 2003
                July 17 2003
                August 05 2003
                : 100
                : 16
                : 9590-9595
                Article
                10.1073/pnas.1531542100
                170962
                12869695
                © 2003
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