We quantitated the level of activity of several peptidases to determine if enzymes involved in the post-translational processing and metabolism of peptides are detectable and are altered developmentally in specific regions of the rat brain. Carboxypeptidase H (EC 18.104.22.168), a processing enzyme, located in chromaffin secretory granules was expressed at high levels on postnatal day 0 (P 0, birth) in hypothalamus, cortex and cerebellum (3.48, 4.98, 4.29 pmol/mg/min, respectively). An increase of activity occurred from P 0 to P 7 in both hypothalamus and cortex (7.68, 6.94) with a decrease shown in cerebellum (3.89). After P 7, activity increased by P 90 (adult) in the hypothalamus (7.65), decreased to birth levels in the cortex (4.79) and decreased below birth levels in the cerebellum (2.76). This regional pattern of carboxypeptidase H activity may signify its involvement throughout the life of the rat in the synthesis of specific regional neuropeptides important in development. Enzyme activity for the degradative enzymes, neutral endopeptidase (EC 22.214.171.124) and metallo endopeptidase (EC 126.96.36.199) did not present the same developmental pattern as seen with the processing enzyme. Neutral endopeptidase activity doubled in the hypothalamus from P 0 to P 7 (3080 pmol/mg/min) and remained constant throughout the maturation of the animal. In the cortex, activity increased significantly from P 0 to P 30 (1171) and remained at that level to P 90. In the cerebellum, activity decreased from P 0 to P 30 (320) and remained at that level to P 90 (304). At birth, metallo endopeptidase activity was highest in cortex (2702 pmol/mg/min), intermediate in hypothalamus (1658) and lowest in cerebellum (1410). Activity increased in the cortex from P 0 to P 7 (1269), then decreased by P 90 (915) to birth levels. In hypothalamus and cerebellum, levels remained constant from P 0 to P 30 but decreased below birth levels by P 90 (481, 840). These two metabolic enzymes, neutral endopeptidase and metallo endopeptidase were detectable at birth and may function in the degradation of neuropeptides released at the synapse. The presence of both peptide processing and metabolic enzymes at birth and the pattern of their activity during development suggests a regulatory role in the production and degradation of important bioactive peptides in the developing rat brain.
- Carboxypeptidase H (EC 188.8.131.52)
- Metallo endopeptidase 24.15 (EC 184.108.40.206)
- Neutral endopeptidase 24.11 (EC 220.127.116.11)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental Neuroscience
- Developmental Biology