The complete amino acid sequence of rat testes metalloendopeptidase (EC 18.104.22.168) was deduced from the nucleotide sequence of a cDNA clone isolated by screening a rat testes library with a polyclonal antibody raised against a homogeneous preparation of the rat testes enzyme. The correctness of the sequence was verified by N-terminal amino acid sequence analysis of the isolated enzyme and by partial amino acid sequence analysis of three tryptic peptides located near the N-terminus, the middle, and C-terminus of the native protein. The enzyme is composed of 645 amino acids with a molecular weight of 72 985. This value is close to that of the purified rat testes and brain enzyme as determined by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis under denaturing and reducing conditions and by molecular sieving chromatography. The enzyme contains the putative active-site sequence -H-E-F-G-H- that is homologous to the sequence in the active site of thermolysin and several other related bacterial enzymes, as well as to active-site sequences of several mammalian zinc metallopeptidases. No amino acid sequence homology, beyond this active site, was found with thermolysin, a bacterial zinc metalloendopeptidase, nor with several mammalian zinc metallopeptidases. Northern blot hybridization analyses showed the presence of mRNA encoding the enzyme in rat testes, but not in other rat tissues in spite of the finding that enzyme activity is widely distributed in all tissues and that relatively high activities are present in rat brain and pituitary.
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