Carboxypeptidase E (enkephalin convertase) was first identified as the carboxypeptidase B-like enzyme involved in the biosynthesis of enkephalin in bovine adrenal chromaffin granules1. A similar enzyme is present in many brain regions1,2 and in purified secretory granules from rat pituitary3 and rat insulinoma4. Within the secretory granules, carboxypeptidase E (CPE) activity is found in both a soluble and a membrane-bound form1, which differ slightly in relative molecular mass (Mr)5. Here, to investigate whether the CPE activities in the various tissues are produced from a single gene, purified CPE was partially sequenced and oligonucleotide probes were used to isolate a clone encoding CPE from a bovine pituitary complementary DNA library. This cDNA hybridizes to bovine pituitary poly(A)+ RNAs of approximately 3.3, 2.6 and 2.1 kilobases (kb), with the 3.3-kb messenger RNA the predominant species. The predicted amino-acid sequence of the cDNA clone contains the partially determined sequences of CPE, several pairs of basic amino acids and displays some homology with both carboxypeptidases A and B. Restriction analysis of bovine genomic DNA suggests only one gene for CPE. This is consistent with a broad role for CPE in the biosynthesis of many neuropeptides.
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