As shown previously, during degradation of sucrase-isomaltase in rat jejunum, degradation of the sucrase active site occurs before that of isomaltase active site [Goda & Koldovský (1985) Biochem. J. 229, 751-758]. To characterize further the process of sucrase-isomaltase degradation in jejunum, we determined the amounts of immunoreactive sucrase-isomaltase in rat jejunum by using a monoclonal-antibody-based enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. By employing two alternative monoclonal antibodies (one reacting with the sucrase subunit and the other reacting with the isomaltase subunit), the amount of antigen-containing sucrase subunit and the amount of antigen-containing isomaltase subunit were separately quantified. In both upper and lower jejunum of rats, the amount of antigen-containing isomaltase subunit was always higher than the amount of antigen-containing sucrase subunit. This difference was attributable mainly to a degradation product of sucrase-isomaltase, which was identified as isomaltase monomer. Occlusion of pancreatic ducts for 18 h eliminated the difference between the amount of antigen-containing sucrase subunit and the amount of antigen-containing isomaltase subunit in both upper and lower jejunum. In jejunum of control animals, the molar ratio of sucrase subunit to isomaltase subunit was estimated to be 0.32-0.52, indicating that quite a large proportion of sucrase-isomaltase (48-68%) is present as degradation products (e.g. isomaltase monomer). These results support the model of degradation process of sucrase-isomaltase in brush-border membranes of rat jejunum, whereby degradation of sucrase subunit by the action of pancreatic proteinase(s) precedes degradation of isomaltase subunit.

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