Isolation and characterization of recombinant human cathepsin E expressed in Chinese hamster ovary cells

Takayuki Tsukuba, Hitoshi Hori, Takeshi Azuma, Tamami Takahashi, R. Thomas Taggart, Akifumi Akamine, Mitsue Ezaki, Hiroshi Nakanishi, Hideaki Sakai, Kenji Yamamoto

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42 Citations (Scopus)


The cDNA sequence encoding precursor forms of human cathepsin E (CE), an intracellular aspartic proteinase, was expressed in Chinese hamster ovary cells using an SV40 promoter-driven expression vector. By immunoelectron microscopic studies using an anti-human CE antibody and by Percoll density gradient frac tionation, the expressed CE was found to be in two different intracellular fractions; the cytosolic compartment and the vacuolar system. The CEs in both the cytosolic and the vacuolar fractions were highly purified by a simple method involving Percoll density gradient fractionation, chromatography on concanavalin A-Sepharose, Mono Q, and TSK-GelG2000SW, and termed s-CE and v-CE, respectively. The v-CE was further separated into a major (v-CE1) and a minor (v-CE2) form by Mono Q chromatography. Sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and immunoblotting revealed that the s-CE and v-CE1 consists of two polypeptides of 90 and 84 kDa, whereas v-CE2 is composed of 84- and 82-kDa polypeptides. The NH2-terminal amino acid sequence analyses showed that the 90- and 84-kDa proteins from both s-CE and v-CE started with Ser3 and Lys30 of the sequence of human gastric CE predicted from its cDNA sequence, respectively, and that the NH2 terminus of the 82-kDa protein of v-CE2 is the Ile37. Upon acid treatment at pH 3.5 and 37°C for 5 min, the 90- and 84-kDa forms are rapidly converted to the 82-kDa form, indicating that the 90-, 84- and 82-kDa proteins are the pro-CE, the intermediate form, and the mature CE, respectively. All the forms of CE are N-glycosylated with high-mannose-type oligosaccharides. The catalytic properties of s-CE and v-CE are comparable to those of natural human CE. These results suggest that the recombinant CE is initially synthesized on membrane-bound ribosomes as a N-glycosylated preproenzyme and that, after cleavage of the signal segment, the 90-kDa proenzyme is proteolytically processed to the intermediate (84 kDa) and mature (82 kDa) forms by the transport system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7276-7282
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Apr 5 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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