Six aspartic proteinase precursors, a pro-cathepsin E (ProCatE) and five pepsinogens (Pgs), were purified from the stomach of adult newts ( Cynops pyrrhogaster ). On sodium dodecylsulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, the molecular weights of the Pgs and active enzymes were 37–38 kDa and 31–34 kDa, respectively. The purified ProCatE was a dimer whose subunits were connected by a disulphide bond. cDNA cloning by polymerase chain reaction and subsequent phylogenetic analysis revealed that three of the purified Pgs were classified as PgA and the remaining two were classified as PgBC belonging to C-type Pg. Our results suggest that PgBC is one of the major constituents of acid protease in the urodele stomach. We hypothesize that PgBC is an amphibian-specific Pg that diverged during its evolutional lineage. PgBC was purified and characterized for the first time. The purified urodele pepsin A was completely inhibited by equal molar units of pepstatin A. Conversely, the urodele pepsin BC had low sensitivity to pepstatin A. In acidic condition, the activation rates of newt pepsin A and BC were similar to those of mammalian pepsin A and C1, respectively. Our results suggest that the enzymological characters that distinguish A- and C-type pepsins appear to be conserved in mammals and amphibians.
Chemistry and Pharmacology