Evidence for a two-step mechanism of gonadotropin-releasing hormone metabolism by prolyl endopeptidase and metalloendopeptidase EC in ovine hypothalamic extracts

Rebecca A. Lew, Timothy J. Tetaz, Marc J. Glucksman, James L. Roberts, A. Ian Smith

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The metalloendopeptidase EC is believed to degrade gonadotropin- releasing hormone (GnRH) (pGlu-His-Trp-Ser-Tyr-Gly-Leu-Arg-Pro-Gly-NH2) by cleavage at the Tyr5-Gly6 bond. We compared the ability of crude and partially purified endopeptidase 24.15 from ovine hypothalamus with recombinant rat testicular endopeptidase 24.15 to degrade synthetic GnRH. Both soluble and membrane hypothalamic fractions degraded GnRH to GnRH1- 5, with some production of GnRH1-9 and GnRH1-3. Generation of the smaller fragments was blocked by a specific endopeptidase 24.15 inhibitor (CFP-AAY-pAB), but production of GnRH1-9 was reciprocally enhanced, suggesting this peptide may be an intermediate generated by prolyl endopeptidase. Indeed, both bacitracin and Z-Pro-prolinal, inhibitors of this enzyme, markedly reduced GnRH degradation to any product. Degradation of synthetic GnRH1-9 was more rapid than that of GnRH and was inhibited by CFP-AAY-pAB but not bacitracin. Activity against either substrate was greater in the soluble fraction. Repeated washing of the membrane fraction followed by extraction with Triton X-114 suggested that both endopeptidase 24.15 and prolyl endopeptidase, although predominantly soluble, can be peripherally associated with membranes. When fractionated by hydrophobic interaction chromatography, soluble endopeptidase 24.15 degraded GnRH only in fractions that also exhibited prolyl endopeptidase activity. In contrast, maximal degradation of GnRH1-9 was observed in adjacent fractions, which also contained the highest levels of immunoreactive endopeptidase 24.15. The affinity of recombinant endopeptidase 24.15 for GnRH was low (K(m) = 1.35 mM), was improved 10-15-fold by removal of the COOH-terminal amide or glycinamide (K(m) = 90 and 119 μM, respectively), and could be inhibited by CFP-AAY-pAB but not bacitracin. Taken together, these results suggest that GnRH metabolism in the hypothalamus may occur via a two-step process involving first removal of Gly10-NH2 by prolyl endopeptidase, followed by cleavage by endopeptidase 24.15 at the Tyr5-Gly6 bond.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12626-12632
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 1994
Externally publishedYes

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